January 25, 2022


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Why the “Apocalypse Glacier” is melting makes scientists tremble

The erosion of this glacier, in which new cracks were found, caused the sea level to rise by 65 cm.

Its nickname raises little doubt about the dramatic effects it could have on the planet. “The Apocalypse Glacier”, from his real name Dwights, is the largest in Antarctica, 120 km wide, 600 km long and 192,000 km 2 or nearly a third of Antarctica’s surface. Metropolitan France.

Its total melting will rise 65 centimeters above sea level. On Monday, scientists revealed the discovery of new cracks at its 45-kilometer floating edge, which, if separated, could lead to complete detachment of the glacier.

This latest information was released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Society. Last month, satellites observed the acceleration of ice movements with cracks in the iceberg. Eventually, the ice sheet may come within five years, which is the most obvious effect of global warming on this part of the planet.

Since 1992, the point of connection between the glacier and the ocean has receded by 14 km. Ocean warming. Until recently, this ledge was seen as its most stable part. But hot water currents attack from below. Once disassembled, it would erupt into hundreds of glaciers and wreak havoc all over this “Apocalypse Glacier”.

“The edge of the glacier is like a glass with a crack. You tell yourself you need to get a new one, and then one day, bang, you end up with millions of cracks,” explains Erin Pettit, an iceberg expert at Oregon State University. , As the press reports Science.

Possible Effect Domino

Of further concern is the melting of the Dwights Glacier, which may be the first step in the complete melting of the Antarctic ice sheet, which is currently 3 meters above sea level.

“Thwaites and the Pine Island Glacier are the bedrock of other glaciers in western Antarctica. , In the media Reporter.

A Study Published by researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden on April 9, it has already estimated the impact of hot water currents disrupting the glacier, which is higher than previously thought. Swedish study has actually brought to light a stream located east of this iceberg, which scientists thought was actually blocked by an underwater ridge.

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These currents disrupt the Dwights Glacier and attack its pinning points, the pillars on which it rests. The same study estimates that 14 billion tons of ice has already melted, accounting for 4% of sea level rise.

$ 50 million project

Scientists have been paying close attention to the glacier for years. Like International Dwights Glacier Cooperation, A $ 50 million multi-year research program funded by the United States and the United Kingdom. On their Twitter account, they also posted an animation that allows them to better understand the impact of hot water on the glacier.

This 65-centimeter rise in sea level due to the melting of the Dwights glacier could have dramatic effects on many coastal cities, but island states such as the Kiribati Islands and the Maldives will also disappear.