Updated NASA Data
on Pending Surge in
Global Sea Level Rise

Place cursor over 2014 NASA video & hit play for satellite & ice-penetrating aerial imagery of Thwaites’ unstoppable disintegration.

NASA 2014 Video Narrated by Glaciologist Dr. Eric Rignot

Timing of Thwaites’ plunge.

NASA JPL (2020) & peer reviewed City of South Miami Sea Level Rise Flooding Pilot (2020): The grounding line is only ~10 miles from the downsloping ridge, moving at ~one mile per year, and once past the ridge if not impeded, Thwaites current 4% contribution to global sea level rise (SLR) will irreversibly and rapidly increase to ~40% by “plunging into the deep part of W. Antarctica grounded about 2.5 km below sea level.” (quote from “With seas rising, stalled research budgets must also rise,” Yale Climate Connections, Apr. 27, 2021).


Temperature of 5.4ºF above ocean freezing at the grounding line was measured in 2020. Dr. Ted Scambos, lead principal investigator, International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Seafloor ocean temperature below the ice shelf away from land was 7.2ºF above freezing.

Historically, “sea level rose several meters in just decades.” peer-reviewed City of South Miami SLR Flooding Pilot showing geologic data in many different locations globally, including “Oceans can rise in sudden bursts,” Scientific American Oct. 20, 2017

These new data are not incorporated in any global models which thus need to be recalibrated. NASA JPL 2021. IPCC states that the timing of rise will be much sooner than model predictions if new empirical data from Antarctica show accelerating melting (Chapter 13 Sea Level Change at 1140 (2013))

Plunge Timing Scenarios of 10 yrs. or less, or more than 10 years:
Based on known pace of grounding line retreat, distance to downsloping ridge, and above freezing grounding line water temperature, it may be more likely than not that the first scenario will occur.

Ocean temp. 7.2ºF

above freezing (2020)

Ocean temp. 5.4ºF

above freezing (2020)


From Rob Larter, THOR, slightly modified version of a graphic produced by Rebecca Totten Minzoni
(Univ. Alabama, Co-I on the
THOR project).

The recent mods were by Julia Wellner
(Univ. Houston, Co-PI on
THOR project).