An explanation of the 'Doomsday Glacier'.

Matthew C. Woodruff

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Thwaites Glacier(public use)

In the 2004 science fiction disaster movie ‘Day After Tomorrow’, a scientist tries in vain to warn the scientific community and the political establishment of the advent of catastrophic climatic effects if the ocean gets too cold too fast from melting glaciers. Ultimately, super-storms and arctic vortexes form, enshrouded the northern half of the globe in a new and devastating ice age.

Now the news is full of warnings of the so-called ‘Doomsday Glacier’ and the devastating effects it could have on earth if it were to completely break off its shelf and melt.

The Thwaites Glacier (its real name) is larger than the state of Florida and contains a massive amount of water, total volume 483,000 km to the third power. I don’t know how much that is but it sounds like a lot, and in fact, if the glacier collapsed entirely it would raise the global sea level by about two feet.

Since 2000, the Glacier has shed a trillion tons of ice into the world’s oceans. The meltwater from this single Glacier accounts for about four percent of the planet’s sea-level rise each year.

Recently, underwater robots sent to determine the stability of the glacier found some alarming trends. The glacier is anchored to the sea floor, but new data shows that it has retreated at a rate of between 1.3 and 1.4 miles per year. This means that the glacier was retreating almost three times faster than it was between 2011 and 2019. Scientists describe it as ‘hanging on by its fingernails’.

If the glacier continues to melt at this rate it will become ‘unhooked’ from the sea floor that anchors it in place. The new data shows that the glacier has the potential to accelerate much faster if it becomes detached from its current grounding point and anchors to a subsequent anchor grounding point.

Despite the current political dismissals of threats from climate change, a rapid 2-foot rise in sea level would be bad news for Florida, Ron DeSantis, and the rest of the world.

This threat from the ‘Doomsday Glacier’ is what the news is about.

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Matthew is a free-lance journalist, and an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL
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