Energy & Environment

Scientists warn Antarctic glacier could collapse, raise sea levels at least a foot

Scientists are warning an Antarctic glacier could collapse and cause sea levels to raise at least a foot in the next decade. 

The scientists said Monday at the American Geophysical Union the Thwaites glacier, which is the size of Florida, could collapse in the next three to five years.

The ice shelf holding the glacier in place is quickly developing cracks due to the warm water hitting it, according to the scientists. 

“There’s going to be a dramatic change in the front of the glacier probably within less than a decade,” Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, said. 

“It’s doubled its outflow speed within the last 30 years, and the glacier in its entirety holds enough water to raise sea level by over 2 feet. And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet, if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it,” he added.

He said the collapse of the glacier could harm glaciers nearby due to its size and cause them to fall as well.

The warning from scientists comes after a hole two-thirds the size of Manhattan was found in Thwaites glacier

“Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites’ bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below,” NASA said at the time. “The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them.”

Energy & Environment