Doomsday Glacier Melting: Is $50-Billion Enough To Save the World?

With the looming threat of climate change, rising sea levels pose an existential risk to coastal communities worldwide. Just a couple of feet of sea level rise could have catastrophic consequences, putting millions of lives and livelihoods at risk. The collapse of the Thwaites glacier, often dubbed the ‘doomsday glacier,’ could exacerbate this crisis, triggering devastating flooding in cities like New York, Miami, and New Orleans.

The Role of Doomsday Glacier

The Thwaites glacier acts as an important barrier, blocking warming sea waters from reaching other glaciers. However, its rapid melting contributes significantly to global sea level rise, accounting for 4 percent of the total increase since 2000. The collapse of Thwaites could unleash a cascade effect, raising sea levels by another 10 feet (three meters) and putting even more communities in harm’s way.

Innovative Solutions with $50 billion price tag

To combat the threat of glacial melting, geoengineers are pioneering innovative technologies like underwater curtains. John Moore, a glaciologist and researcher, proposes installing gigantic 62-mile-long curtains on the seafloor to prevent warm seawater from reaching and melting glaciers like Thwaites. Unlike previous proposals for massive walls, curtains offer a safer and more flexible solution. They can be easily removed or redesigned if they pose unforeseen environmental challenges.

While the concept of underwater curtains is promising, it’s still in the experimental phase. Researchers at the University of Cambridge are conducting tests on prototypes, gradually scaling them up for real-world applications. However, significant funding, approximately $50 billion, is required to install curtains in critical areas like the Amundsen Sea. Despite the hefty price tag, proponents argue that the cost is justified compared to the potential devastation caused by rising sea levels.

The Race Against Time with Doomsday Glacier

The urgency to implement solutions like underwater curtains is palpable. Glaciers like Thwaites are melting at unprecedented rates, driven by climate change. While reducing carbon emissions remains crucial, geoengineers believe that direct intervention is necessary to prevent irreversible damage. However, the timeline for action is uncertain, as glacial collapse could occur sooner than predicted, leaving little time for mitigation efforts.


The threat of rising sea levels looms large over coastal communities worldwide, necessitating urgent action. Underwater curtains offer a promising solution to slow the melting of glaciers like Thwaites and mitigate the risk of catastrophic flooding. While challenges remain, including funding and technological refinement, the potential benefits outweigh the costs. As we race against time, collaboration between scientists, policymakers, and communities is essential to safeguarding our coastal cities for future generations.

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