Eric Holthaus

There’s a giant hole in the world’s most important glacier

Civilization’s most important glacier has revealed another worrying surprise to scientists. The Thwaites Glacier, the largest outflow channel of the vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet, now has a gigantic subterranean hole.

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Antarctic sea ice is 'astonishingly' low this melt season

Right now, on the shores of Antarctica, there’s open water crashing against the largest ice shelf in the world. The annual ice-free season has begun at the Ross Ice Shelf — a month ahead of schedule.
This post originally appeared on Grist.
The frozen region of freshwater ice the size of France partially protects the West Antarctic Ice Sheet from collapsing into the sea. In recent years, the ice-free season in the Ross Sea has become a routine event — but it happened this year on New Year’s Day, the earliest time in history.

“Antarctic sea ice extent is astonishingly low this year, not just near the Ross Ice Shelf, but around most of the continent,” says Cecilia Bitz, a polar scientist at the University of Washington.

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This Water War Will Decide the Fate of 1-in-8 Americans

Lake Mead is the country’s biggest reservoir of water. Think of it as the savings account for the entire Southwest. Right now, that savings account is nearly overdrawn.

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