Geophysical Habitat of Subglacial Thwaites

Principal investigator

Projecting the retreat rate of Thwaites Glacier, and whether it can stabilize without completely deglaciating the marine basins of West Antarctica to raise global sea level more than 3 m, are of critical importance in a warming world. The objectives of the proposed research are to learn whether basal conditions allow for rapid retreat of the Thwaites Glacier grounding line or whether retreat may slow or stop on the transverse ridge about 70 km inland, and to learn whether englacial and subglacial conditions allow for Thwaites Glacier to rapidly expand its boundaries and deglaciate adjacent marine basins. These objectives will be achieved by using dedicated ice-flow modeling to guide targeted field surveys and experiments over two seasons, to measure the most important unknown quantities and incorporate them into the models.