What is Thwaites?

Thwaites is an important glacier. In fact, it is so important it gets in own set of webpages. From The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC):

The NERC and NSF partnership, called the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC), covers research across Thwaites Glacier and its adjacent ocean region; the glacier flows into Pine Island Bay, part of Amundsen Sea. ITGC is the largest joint UK-US project undertaken on the southern continent in 70 years.

Over the past 30 years, the amount of ice flowing out of this 120-kilometer-wide region has nearly doubled. Overall the glacier is the size of the island of Britain, or the state of Florida, and it straddles some of the deepest bedrock in the southern continent.

From a CIRES article The Threat from Thwaites: The Retreat of Antarctica’s Riskiest Glacier (12/12/2021):

“Thwaites is the widest glacier in the world,” said Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). “It’s doubled its outflow speed within the last 30 years, and the glacier in its entirety holds enough water to raise sea level by over two feet. And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet, if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it.”

The CIRES article has interesting information about the dynamics at play. The ITGC pages includes some education resources and a data page with links to data in various types but one is a csv file.

 

 

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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