Of the size of the state of Florida, the Thwaites glacier is considered the most dangerous in the world, as its impact on the increase in sea levels is very high. Now, a NASA investigation warned that this mass of ice is disintegrating.
According to the research, there is a cavity of 40 square kilometers and 300 meters height which grows at the bottom of the block, located in the western Antarctic, which would strengthen this theory.
The scientists emphasized the need to observe in detail the lower part of the Antarctic glaciers, because in this way They can calculate how rapidly global levels of sea will rise, As a response to global warming.
However, NASA experts just expected to find below the Thwaites some gaps between ice and bottom, where ocean water can flow and melt. When discovering this new hole, they were surprised and alarmed.
This cavity is large enough to contain up to 14,000 million tons of ice: Much of that It melted in the last three years.
This could be discovered thanks to a gel penetration radar, Which they used in NASA's IceBridge Operation. The campaign began in 2010 and studies the connections between the polar regions and the global climate. These high resolution data can be processed using a technique called radar interferometry, which reveals how the surface of the soil has moved between the images.
The interest for Thwaites is not recent, it is one of the great mysteries of the Antarctic. The National Science Foundation of the United States and the National Environmental Research Council of the United Kingdom are setting up a five-year field project to answer the most critical questions about their processes and characteristics.
This glacier is responsible for approximately the 4% increase in sea levels: it can raise the world ocean a little over two centimeters. In turn, it supports neighboring glaciers that would raise the level to 2.4 centimeters if all the ice was lost.