The collapse of Antarctic glacier the size of Britain threatens to flood coastal towns.

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain is threatening to submerge UK coastal towns by collapsing into the ocean and raising sea-levels, scientists fear.

British and American are launching the largest joint mission for more than 70 years to investigate how long the 113,000 square-mile Thwaites Glacier can last in the current form.

A fleet of research ships and aircraft and more than 80 scientists will be dispatched to the remote west Antarctic region later this year following warnings the ice structure could collapse within decades.

Glaciologists predict that the collapse of both Thwaites and the nearby Pine Island Glacier, two of the largest and fastest retreating on the continent, could cause sea levels to rise over one metre.

However, this could then trigger the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, meaning ocean rises of more than three metres.

Climate models have indicated that a 1-metre rise would significantly increase the frequency of devastating storm surges, such as hit UK eastern coastal towns in 2013.

But a rise of two or more metres may cause permanent changes to the British coast line, with settlements such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of  East London and the Thames Estuary at threat of becoming submerged.

Yesterday leaders of the project, which comprises the UK's Natural Environmental Research and the US National Science Foundation [NSF] said there were ''reasons to suspect'' that a Thwaites ice retreat.

The Operational Research on Glaciology continues. !WOW! - thanks Henry Bodkin.


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