Thwaites glacier could break free of Antarctica by 2030

Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier could break free of the continent within 10 years, which could lead to catastrophic sea level rise and potentially set off a domino effect in surrounding ice


13 December 2021

Thwaites glacier

Thwaites glacier on the West Antarctic ice sheet

NASA/OIB/Jeremy Harbeck

The front of a “doomsday glacier” in Antarctica is expected to see “dramatic changes” within 10 years that accelerate its break-up and contribution to sea level rise, according to findings presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union on 13 December.

Thwaites glacier is about the size of Great Britain and shedding 50 billion tonnes of ice per year. While that is small in terms of contributing to sea level rise, the tongue of ice is closely watched by researchers because of …