Here comes the Thwaites Glacier again. Or goes. CDN readers know that every time alarmist activists and climate journalists (but we repeat ourselves) need scary headlines to grab clicks, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica can be melted for the purpose. The idea is that as the downstream Thwaites ice shelf disintegrates into the hotting seas around Antarctica, the upstream Thwaites glacier will tumble in after since the lower shelf is all that is holding it in place, and this plunge will raise global sea levels by 10 feet or so in roughly 20 minutes. But this time the alarmists may find their fingers frozen at the keyboard. A new study has re-examined the role the Thwaites shelf plays in buttressing the upstream Thwaites glacier and concludes that, um, it basically plays no role. Melting of the so-called Doomsday Glacier won’t cause the upstream glacier to move anywhere and would at most raise sea levels by a few millimeters.
H/T No Tricks Zone the new study was authored by a team of scientists in the UK and the US. They described their findings as follows:
“Here we estimate the buttressing provided to one of the largest and most dynamical glaciers of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier. The glacier is currently abutted by an ice shelf, which has become progressively smaller and weaker over the last few decades. It has been suggested that a disintegration of the ice shelf might lead to greatly enhanced ice flow. However, we find that the ice shelf does not significantly buttress upstream flow, and removing the ice shelf has little effect on [Sea Level Rise] over the next 50 years.”
The authors go on to discuss the various papers in recent years that have predicted cataclysmic sea level rise rates from the loss of the Thwaites ice shelf and they explain that the problem is these papers do not provide convincing evidence that the upstream glacier is unstable.
The new study relies a lot on computer model simulations so all the usual caveats apply. Including the one about why you won’t hear about this study in the mainstream press, and if the authors want the sort of career that brings money, fame and glory they really need to tweak their model to get Thwaites rolling into the ocean pronto. In the meantime Bill Gates and the Obamas can rest easy that their waterfront mansions are safe.