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Climate change is the defining issue of our times, the impact of which is global in scope and unprecedented in scale. As global warming worsens, glacier retreat has become a growing concern. Beneath the ocean’s surface, glaciers are melting at a much faster rate now, than earlier. The warming ocean waters increase the rate of ice flow and consequently lead to a rise in sea level.
For the first time in history, scientists have discovered warm water beneath the ‘doomsday glacier’ (officially known as Thwaites Glacier) by virtue of being one of Antarctica’s fastest melting glaciers. This has led to concerns of glacier collapse that could result in nearly 3 feet of sea-level rise. The point where the glacier meets the sea has been recorded as 2-degree celsius more than the normal freezing temperature. The reason why Thwaites is crucial to Antarctica is that it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean.
An underwater robot named Icefin took a journey underneath the surface of the melting glacier and uncovered the unusually warm temperatures. The bright yellow remotely operated yellow robot submarine was dropped through a 2,300 foot deep hole that had been drilled through the glacier.
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The findings are part of International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, a US-UK based research agency that studies the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, probing deeper into how quickly it might melt. According to researcher David Holland, warm waters in this part of the world serve as a warning about the potential threat to the planet brought about by climate change.
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