Scientists analyse details of one of the fastest-changing glaciers in Antarctica

Scientists are worried about the rapid melting of glaciers as cold glacial-melt water enters the warmer ocean, slowing ocean currents and as ice on land melts, the sea levels continue to rise. 

Overall climatic change, majorly fuelled by human activities are responsible for it as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have raised Earth’s temperatures. 

The temperatures are even higher in the poles and as a result, the glaciers are rapidly melting. An alarming crackup has begun at the foot of Antarctica’s vulnerable Thwaites Glacier, whose meltwater is already responsible for about 4 per cent of global sea-level rise.

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In a report published in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on December 16, scientists and exerts discussed the rapid melting of glaciers during this year’s AGU fall meeting. 

It is mentioned that a floating ice shelf is stabilised offshore by a marine shoal and acts as a dam to slow the flow of ice off the continent into the ocean. 

However, if this floating ice shelf breaks apart, the Thwaites Glacier will accelerate and its contribution to sea-level rise will increase by as much as 25 per cent. 

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“We have mapped out weaker and stronger areas of the ice shelf and suggest a “zig-zag” pathway the fractures might take through the ice, ultimately leading to break up of the shelf in as little as 5 years, which result in more ice flowing off the continent,” a part of the report read. 

Meanwhile, the UN on Tuesday officially recognised the 38 degrees Celsius measured in Siberia last year as a new record high for the Arctic, sounding “alarm bells” over climate change.

The sweltering heat – equivalent to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit – was seen on June 20, 2020 in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk, marking the highest temperature ever recorded above the Arctic Circle, the World Meteorological Organization said. 

“This new Arctic record is one of a series of observations reported to the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes that sound the alarm bells about our changing climate,” its chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

(With inputs from agencies)