Crucial Antarctic ice shelf, Thwaites Glacier, could fail within five years, scientists say

December 13, 2021 ☼ climateantarcticaice-shelfsea-level

Source: The Washington Post - Link

Scientists have discovered a series of worrying weaknesses in the ice shelf holding back one of Antarctica’s most dangerous glaciers, suggesting that this important buttress against sea level rise could shatter within the next three to five years.

Until recently, the ice shelf was seen as the most stable part of Thwaites Glacier, a Florida-sized frozen expanse that already contributes about 4 percent of annual global sea level rise. Because of this brace, the eastern portion of Thwaites flowed more slowly than the rest of the notorious “doomsday glacier.”

We’re on the edge. There is probably nothing we can do about this at this point. We’ll not notice pending catastrophes until they are too late to stop. Human nature is just not wired for that level of future thinking.