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Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier Losses Over 50 Billion Tons of Ice, Study Reveals

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A new study reveals worrying news about Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, also known as the Doomsday Glacier. Over the past 80 years, this colossal glacier has been rapidly losing ice, with recent observations showing it has shed over 50 billion tons. This worrying trend is due to a significant retreat that began in the 1940s, triggered possibly by an extreme El Niño climate pattern.

Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier Losses Over 50 Billion Tons of Ice

Scientists are particularly concerned because Thwaites Glacier is crucial in understanding the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The retreat of Thwaites Glacier could have severe consequences for global sea levels. If it collapses or retreats significantly, it could accelerate the flow of ice into the ocean, leading to a rise in sea levels by as much as 65 centimeters. The acceleration of ice loss has been observed since the 1970s, but until now, the exact starting point of the retreat was unclear.

The study published in the journal PNAS emphasizes that this change is not isolated to Thwaites Glacier alone but is part of a larger pattern of climate change affecting the region. Researchers stress the urgency of addressing climate change, as the ongoing retreat of Thwaites and other glaciers in the region poses a significant threat to coastal regions worldwide. Despite the brief duration of the El Niño event that possibly triggered the glacier’s retreat, Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers continue to lose ice at an alarming rate.

The findings underscore the need for immediate action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect vulnerable coastal communities from the threat of rising sea levels.

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