The planet is getting warmer due to carbon emissions from human beings. Scientists have calculated that if emissions are not reduced quickly, there will be irreversible damage to the environment by the end of this century. Climate change impacts are already being felt all over the world. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. Sea levels are rising as glaciers are melting.
Antarctica is one of the most affected areas on our planet, especially when it comes to West Antarctica. The Doomsday Glacier has become a point of focus in that region for researchers because it represents a major threat to the planet. It is believed that 595 billion tons of ice have melted from the glacier since the 1980s, significantly contributing to the rise of the sea levels. What is worse, the ice loss has become more and more severe in the past years, affected by factors such as climate change and underground warmer rivers.
A new study revealed that the inner Earth is also responsible for the downfall of the glacier. “Large amounts of geothermal heat can, for example, lead to the bottom of the glacier bed no longer freezing completely or to a constant film of water forming on its surface,” add the study co-author Karsten Gohl.
This happens because the Earth’s crust is much thinner in West Antarctica, making the Doomsday glacier more vulnerable to the heat coming from the inside of the planet. “Our measurements show that where the Earth’s crust is only 17 to 25 kilometers thick, geothermal heat flow of up to 150 milliwatts per square meter can occur beneath Thwaites Glacier,” lead study author Ricarda Dziadek explained. This research could help scientists find a better approach to prevent Doomsday from complete collapse. If the glacier fell into the ocean, the sea levels would rise by 65 centimeters all over the world, putting coastline cities in grave danger.