Earth’s inner heat chipping away Antarctic Glacier’, Study Says
Earth’s inner heat might be another contributing factor to the shrinking of the Antarctic glacier. Live Science has reported.
The research study suggests that the Thwaites Glacier located in West Antarctica may not only be shrinking due to global warming but also Earth’s inner heat. The glacier has been melting since the 1980s and contributed to 4 percent of “annual global sea-level rise during that time.”
The authors of the new research established that Earth’s crust beneath East Antarctica is significantly thicker than under West Antarctica, with the Thwaites Glacier – also referred to as the Doomsday Glacier – therefore being subjected to more geothermal heat than its counterparts on the other side of the frozen continent.
“Our measurements show that where the Earth’s crust is only 17 to 25 kilometres thick, geothermal heat flow of up to 150 milliwatts per square meter can occur beneath Thwaites Glacier,” said Ricarda Dziadek, a geophysicist at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and lead author of the study.
The study warned that if the Thwaites Glacier were a collapse into the ocean would reportedly result in global sea levels rising by about 65 centimetres.
This comes after the IPCC climate report warned that the global oceans have risen about 20 centimetres (eight inches) since 1900. The rate of increase has nearly tripled in the last decade. It is attributed to the high rate of melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland.
Karsten Gohl, geologist and AWI and study co-author explained that, large amounts of geothermal heat- Earth’s inner heat may result in “the bottom of the glacier bed no longer freezing completely” or in a “constant film of water forming on its surface” both of these conditions may be “considerably” accelerating the glacier’s loss of ice.
In addition, the glacier’s possible disappearance, with it no longer “plugging the edge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet like a cork in a bottle of wine,” would accelerate ice loss in the region and cause “unprecedented levels of sea-level rise.”