Thwaites Glacier – level 3

22-12-2021 07:00

Known as the doomsday glacier, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is in danger of collapsing, according to scientists.

The glacier is the size of Florida, and it currently adds to 4% of the annual global sea level rise. Now, scientists are warning that a part at the front of the glacier could collapse within the next five to ten years. They say that this doomsday scenario may not happen for centuries; however, when it does, the effect will be a disaster. If the glacier collapses entirely, there would be about 60 centimeters of sea level rise over the entire planet.

Research suggested that when it happens, it might cause a bigger collapse of the west Antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet is a large group of glaciers in Antarctica. The Thwaites Ice Shelf is an underground shelf holding the glacier, and it is likely to collapse within a decade. This will lead to a complete disintegration of the Thwaites Glacier over time of coming centuries.

In 2020, scientists discovered warm water under the glacier for the first time. The melting of the glacier from warmed ocean water seems to be stronger than expected. Researchers noted with concern that at the base of the glacier under the water, the temperature of that water is already more than two degrees above freezing.

Difficult words: doomsday (the end of the world, or a time when something very bad will happen), scenario (a description of possible actions or events in the future), disintegration (the process of being destroyed by breaking into small pieces).

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