NASA estimates that the melting of this glacier, about the size of Britain, will raise sea level by 0.5 meters. However, of greater concern is the lack of other glaciers, and if they are extinct now, the Twaits glaciers will be protected from the warming ocean.
If that happened then the whole city of New York, Miami and the Netherlands would be submerged. The glacier is already dangerously shrinking, but a study published in the Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that increasing glacier damage will accelerate melting as it weakens the integrity of the glacier.
Images taken by various satellites were used in the study to observe the formation of cracks that cause ice to separate from the avalanche. This explains the impact of increasing damage on the strength of the glacier.
The study focused on the spread of damaged sites from the ocean boundary to the glacial shelf, pine island and the Twaits glacier. These damaged areas include open fractures and cracks, where moving ice rocks are encountered, which are the first signs of glacial shelf disaster.
Scientists’ models have shown that a counter-process begins as glacier damage increases, further weakening glacial shelves. In this way, the thinning and cracking of the glacier is accelerated, and more parts of the ice are separated from it. This finding offers a new perspective for scientists studying sea ice.
This shows that it is important to keep these reaction processes in mind when attempting to estimate sea level rise in the future and to assess the stability of still unresolved glacial shelves.
The Twaits Glacier is important because it is like a barrier between the always warm ocean and other glaciers. Once completely melted, the mass of ice across western Antarctica will begin to decline rapidly, raising sea levels to about 3 meters and destroying coastal habitats around the world.
“The results of this study show that the response to damage is important in trying to predict the future stability of glaciers, how far shores should go, and how Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise is possible,” the authors wrote. “Moreover, they point to the need to include feedback in the development of glacial shelf models, as this will improve forecasts of sea level rise.”