An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain is threatening to submerge UK coastal towns by collapsing into the ocean and raising sea levels, scientists fear. British and American experts are launching the largest joint mission for more than 70 years to investigate how long the 113,000 square-mile Thwaites Glacier can last in its current form. A fleet of research ships, submarines and aircraft and more than 80 scientists will be dispatched to the remote west Antarctic region later this year following warnings the ice structure could collapse within decades. Glaciologists predict the collapse of both Thwaites and the nearby Pine Island Glacier, two of the largest and fastest retreating on the continent, could cause sea levels to rise by over one metre. However, this could then trigger the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, meaning ocean rises of more than three metres.
Telegraph 30th April 2018 read more »
The precarious state of a vast, remote Antarctic glacier will provide an inaugural mission for the British vessel once dubbed Boaty McBoatface, as scientists from the UK and US set up a new £20m research operation. Scientists from both countries are to collaborate on the five-year project to examine the Thwaites glacier in west Antarctica, a major structure that drains an area about the size of the UK. Any firm indication that the glacier could be responding to a warmer climate with faster icemelt could presage disaster for coastal areas of the globe, with the potential for sea-level rises some scientists put as high a s 1.5m by the century’s end. One of the principal research vessels will be the RSS Sir David Attenborough, the £200m research ship originally voted to be christened Boaty McBoatface in an online poll two years ago. The joke name lives on in the ship’s remotely operated submarine.
Guardian 30th April 2018 read more »