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Scientists analyze details of one of Antarctica’s most changeable glaciers


Scientists worry about the rapid melting of glaciers as cold glacial meltwater enters the warmer ocean, slowing ocean currents and as ice on land melts, sea levels continue to rise.

Global climate change, primarily driven by human activities, is responsible for this, as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have increased Earth’s temperatures.

Temperatures are even higher at the poles and as a result glaciers are melting rapidly. An alarming crisis has begun at the foot of Antarctica’s vulnerable Thwaites Glacier, whose meltwaters are already responsible for around 4% of global sea level rise.

READ ALSO | The Arctic region recorded the highest temperature on record in 2020, according to the World Meteorological Organization

In a report published in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on Dec. 16, scientists and experts discussed the rapid melting of glaciers at this year’s AGU fall meeting.

It is mentioned that a floating ice shelf is stabilized offshore by a sea shoal and acts as a dam to slow the flow of ice from the mainland to the ocean.

However, if this floating ice shelf breaks up, the Thwaites Glacier will accelerate and its contribution to sea level rise will increase by up to 25%.

READ ALSO | Fires, floods, flying insects: climate-fueled disasters that have wreaked havoc around the world

“We mapped the weakest and strongest areas of the ice shelf and suggest a ‘zig-zag’ path that fractures could take through the ice, ultimately leading to shelf failure. in as little as 5 years, resulting in more ice flowing off the continent,” the report read.

Meanwhile, the UN on Tuesday officially recognized the 38 degrees Celsius measured in Siberia last year as a new Arctic record, sounding the alarm over climate change.

The sweltering heat – equivalent to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit – was observed on June 20, 2020 in the Russian city of Verkhoyansk, marking the highest temperature ever recorded above the Arctic Circle, the World Meteorological Organization said.

“This new Arctic record is one of a series of observations reported to WMO’s weather and climate archive that sound the alarm about our changing climate,” chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

(With agency contributions)

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