The Thwaites Glacier Crisis


Elijah Henry, Reporter

Recently, some new devastating news has surfaced; The Thwaites Glacier, otherwise known as the “Doomsday Glacier”, located at the western tip of Antarctica, is melting faster than ever before. This may seem like no big deal as glaciers have been melting for years. However, to the extent of this magnitude is unheard of. Thwaites is roughly the size of Florida, making it the largest glacier in the world. If there is no preparation or preventative measures put in place, the results could be catastrophic.

The Thwaites Glacier was discovered in January of 1947, and has gone through drastic changes through the years. As of February 15, 2023, scientists have concluded that the largest glacier in the world will most likely collapse within the next five years. Currently, this glacier “sheds billions of tons of ice into the ocean, contributing about 4% to the annual sea level rise,” according to CNN. However, this is nothing to what would happen if Thwaites were to collapse.  When this happens, the sea levels will rise by a whole two feet. Two feet is already enough to damage coastal cities and countries around the world, destroying the beautiful landscape that we see today. Additionally, some islands in the Pacific such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Maldives would be completely wiped off of the map. 

However, this isn’t the only thing that would happen if Thwaites were to collapse. The melting of this glacier would also likely destabilize the structure of the surrounding glaciers and ice shelves, causing the global sea level to rise an additional ten feet. Scientists conducting a study on Thwaites said that the glacier “is hanging on by its fingernails” and humanity needs to prepare themselves for the coming years. 

As climate change rapidly increases its effect on humanity, animals and Earth in general, we need to prepare for what is to come. Many cities and small towns will be completely submerged or heavily impacted by the sudden sea level rise. Climate change has been put off of our minds for too long, and we need to start doing something to help prevent it, no matter how small. Everyone must recognize the damage humans have done to the environment and make an effort towards change.