18 months ago, I wrote about the concern over the breakup of Thwaites glacier – now its getting worse

Cracks and fissures have appeared on Thwaites glacier, leading to fears of it collapsing. If it were to collapse, this glacier alone could raise sea levels by half a meter.

The issue with this glacier, is that it essentially operates as a dam for the vast ice floes behind it.

Cracks like this one may never heal, but instead trigger the start of the entire collapse

Of particular alarm, thwaites glacier operates a bit like a cork, blocking a whole collection of glaciers from collapsing. It is feared that with the collapse of Thwaites glacier, a large amount of the Antarctic ice shelf might slide into the sea – leading to global sea level rises of several meters.

To put this in perspective, if all the west Antarctic glaciers collapse, no coastal city in the world would escape. Over time every single one would be swamped and lost back to the sea. It was thought (until recently) that this glacier loss would take centuries.

In other words, what this does is make it clear – it is not just our children and grandchildren that are going to have to do something about global warming. If we don’t correct our behaviour quickly, we will make life far harder for ourselves as well

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