Glaciologists have described Thwaites as the “most important” glacier in the world, the “riskiest” glacier, even the “doomsday” glacier. It is massive – roughly the size of Britain. It already accounts for 4% of world sea level rise – a huge figure for a single glacier – and satellite data show that it is melting increasingly rapidly. There is enough water locked up in it to raise world sea level by more than half a metre. Thwaites is not going to vanish overnight – the scientists say it will take decades, possibly more than a century. But that should not make us complacent. A metre of sea level rise may not sound much, particularly when you consider that in some places the tide can rise and fall by three or four metres every day. But sea level has a huge effect on the severity of storm surges, says Prof David Vaughan, the director of science at the British Antarctic Survey. An increase in sea level of 50cm would mean the storm that used to come every thousand years will now come every 100 years. If you increase that to a metre then that millennial storm is likely to come once a decade.
BBC 28th Jan 2020 read more »