For the first time in seven decades, the United States and the United Kingdom are re-joining forces in a massive scientific project designed to study the stability of the Thwaites Glacier. This Florida-sized ice body lies in the remote region of West Antarctica and poses a serious environmental threat due to its risk of collapse.
The announcement was made today in a National Science Foundation (NSF) news release outlining the details of the five-year collaboration, which aims to understand how fast the Thwaites Glacier is melting and whether it is expected to collapse within the next few decades.
The U.S. and the U.K are pooling substantial financial resources totaling $25 million, as well as scientific and logistical resources, in order to deploy research teams in remote West Antarctica. The scientists are tasked with gathering crucial data on the Thwaites Glacier, which is considered the world's most dangerous glacier.
"Reducing scientific uncertainty about the likelihood, timing and magnitude of the collapse of West Antarctic glaciers is an international priority," shows the NSF news release.
The research project, called the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, is the biggest scientific expedition ever undertaken in Antarctica, the BBC reports. The project involves around 100 scientists and is set to begin in October. The study will last until 2021.