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Marine ice sheet collapse potentially under way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica
Joughin, I.; Smith, B.E.; Medley, B. (2014). Marine ice sheet collapse potentially under way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica. Science (Wash.) 344(6185): 735-738. hdl.handle.net/10.1126/science.1249055
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Joughin, I.
  • Smith, B.E.
  • Medley, B.

Abstract
    Resting atop a deep marine basin, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered prone to instability. Using a numerical model, we investigated the sensitivity of Thwaites Glacier to ocean melt and whether its unstable retreat is already under way. Our model reproduces observed losses when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses are moderate (<0.25 mm per year at sea level) over the 21st century but generally increase thereafter. Except possibly for the lowest-melt scenario, the simulations indicate that early-stage collapse has begun. Less certain is the time scale, with the onset of rapid (>1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse in the different simulations within the range of 200 to 900 years.

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