Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Antarctica Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica, Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet covering a deep marine basin has for a long time been considered to be prone to instability. Joughin et al. have used a numerical model to investigate the sensitivity to ocean melt and if unstable retreat has already begun. Observed losses were reproduced by the model when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses were moderate, less than 0.25 mm/year sea level over the 21st century, though they generally increasing after that. The simulations indicated that early stage collapse has already begun, with the possible exception of the lowest-melt scenario. The timescale is less certain, with onset of rapid, more than 1 mm/year of sea level, and collapse for the different simulations with a range of 2-9 centuries.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Joughin, I., B. E. Smith and B. Medley (2014). "Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica." Science.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated:  22/09/2016
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