Faster in the Past: New images of the seafloor taken from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with the highest resolution ever show that Thwaites Glacier
moved away faster in the past than was thought. In the past, the huge Thwaites Glacier melted away even faster than it does now.
This makes worries about its future even greater. The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, also called the "Doomsday Glacier,"
has been a big problem for scientists trying to predict how much the sea level will rise around the world. This huge ice stream is already moving away quickly,
, which in geological terms is called a "collapse." This has made a lot of people worry about how much and how quickly it might lose its ice to the ocean.
The possible effects of Thwaites' retreat are scary: if the glacier and the icy basins around it were all gone, the sea level could rise by three to ten
feet. The size of Florida is about how big the glacier is. Thwaites is really hanging on by its fingernails right now. Once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ridge in its bed,
we can expect to see big changes over short periods of time, even from one year to the next. " — Larter, Robert
A new study, which came out on September 5 in Nature Geoscience, gives us more reason to worry. For the first time, scientists made a detailed
map of a key part of the seafloor in front of the glacier. This gave them an idea of how quickly Thwaites had moved and retreated in the past.