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Thwaites Glacier Is Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought05:34
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View of a glacier at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. (Johan ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
View of a glacier at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. (Johan ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is melting faster than previously known, according to new research published this month.

For the first time ever, scientists sent an unmanned submarine underneath the Thwaites Glacier, a massive ice sheet that flows out over West Antarctica's Pine Island Bay. The team found warm currents of ocean water are lapping away at the glacier's tongue.

That's concerning news because the glacier contains enough freshwater to significantly raise global sea levels if it collapses. The research was published this month in the journal "Science Advances."

Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd speaks with Rob Larter, deputy science leader of Palaeo Environments for the British Antarctic Survey.

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration of more than 400 news outlets committed to better coverage of the climate crisis. This year's theme is "living through the climate crisis."

This segment aired on April 20, 2021.

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