Warm water found at "vital point" under "doomsday glacier"

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Scientists have found warm water beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier," a nickname used because it is one of Antarctica's fastest melting glaciers. While researchers have observed the recession of the Thwaites Glacier for a decade, this marks the first time they detected the presence of warm water – found at a "vital point" beneath the glacier.

A news release on the findings called it an alarming discovery.

"The fact that such warm water was just now recorded by our team along a section of Thwaites grounding zone where we have known the glacier is melting suggests that it may be undergoing an unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea-level rise," David Holland, director of New York University's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Global Sea Level Change, which conducted the research, said in the news release.

"Warm waters in this part of the world, as remote as they may seem, should serve as a warning to all of us about the potential dire changes to the planet brought about by climate change," he said.

The collapse of the 74,000-square-mile Thwaites — which some scientists see as the most vulnerable and significant glacier in the world when it comes to sea-level-rise — could release a mass of water roughly the size of Florida or Great Britain. Its melting would raise global sea levels by more than three feet, enough to potentially overwhelm vulnerable populations, the researchers said.

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