The Eastern Ice Shelf of West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier (sometimes known as the ‘Doomsday Glacier‘), is pinned on a sea bed rise at its outer limit (lower left in this animation). Without this pinning point the ice shelf would break away, and without the ice shelf, Thwaites Glacier’s contribution to sea level rise (currently 80 billion tonnes per year, or 4% of the global total) would rapidly accelerate.

This 6-year animation of Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the EU Copernicus Program is made possible because the SAR captures an image every 6 days regardless of cloud cover or polar night. It shows how the ice shelf is beginning to fracture as it thins due to changes in the ocean.

Learn more about how the TEIS is changing in this paper from the TARSAN and DOMINOS projects, components of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC): https://tc.copernicus.org/preprints/tc-2021-76/