The so-called Doomsday Glacier, a Britain-sized glacier from western Antarctica, is melting away at a fast pace.
It is retreating by about half a mile each year.
Scientists estimate the glacier will shed all of its ice in approximately 200 to 600 years. When it does so, the sea levels will rise by about half a meter.
However, the sea-level rise won’t stop at that point.
The Thwaites’ nickname was given after what would happen after it melts.
Currently, the glacier is somewhat of a buffer between warming sea waters and other glaciers.
Its disappearance could potentially spell the same fate for neighboring ice masses in western Antarctica down with it.
Additionally, that process would increase sea levels by about 10 feet, forever submerging many coastal regions, including New York City, Miami, and the Netherlands.
David Holland, a professor of atmospheric science at New York University who is part of the research team that sends data to the Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, said that the glacier’s melting would be “a major change, a rewriting of the coastline.”
This month, two recent studies have added extra detail to the already alarming scenario.
Research published one week in the journal Cryosphere discovered that warm ocean currents could be melting away Thwaites Glacier’s underbelly.
A study published on Monday used satellite imagery data to reveal that some areas of Thwaites and the Pine Island Glacier, its neighbor, are breaking apart more rapidly than formerly thought.
The data was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The satellite image between October 2014 and May 2019 revealed the extensive damage the Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers experienced.