The United States and Britain have launched a $25 million project on Monday to study the risks of a melting of a very large glacier in Antarctica that is already melting and increasing the global sea levels. This is going to be the largest joint mission of British and American experts for more than 70 years to examine how long the 113,000 square-mile Thwaites Glacier can last if it continues its current rate of melting.
The Thwaites Glacier which is situated in West Antarctica is equal in size to Great Britain and is described as the world’s most dangerous glacier.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the US and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the UK is going to do research on the Thwaites Glacier with the total cost of $25 million.
The five years research will involve more than 100 scientists, and it would be the world’s biggest joint scientific project in Antarctica since the 1940s. A fleet of research ships will be dispatched having aircraft and submarine to the West Antarctica region later this year following the warning of thawing glaciers. It has also been expected that the Thwaites Glacier will collapse within decades.
The glaciers are melting from Antarctica to Greenland due to man-made global warming caused by burning of fossil fuels.
Glaciologists have predicted that the melting of Thwaites and the nearby Pine Island Glacier would lead to the rise of more than one meter in the global sea level threatening cities from San Francisco to Tokyo and low-lying coastal regions.
These two are the fastest retreating glaciers in Antarctica which require great attention worldwide. UK science minister Sam Gyimah said ‘‘Rising sea levels is a very important global issue which cannot be tackled alone’’.
Other scientists from countries like Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Finland and New Zealand would also give their contribution to the research. The United States is keeping up research even though US President Donald Trump doubts mainstream scientific findings that human activities, led by the burning of fossil fuels, are the main cause of global warming.