Disintegration of an Antartic ice shelf
This is yet another proof that Earth’s climate is warming more and more as prior to this event, this region was considered as somehow preserved by global warming.
The beginning of the disintegration of an ice cube of 13,680 square kilometers is not a slight event and will give you here more details on this worrying news.
According to the official press release :
Satellite imagery from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that a 13,680 square kilometer (5,282 square mile) ice shelf has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.
The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula, about 1,000 miles south of South America. In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the biggest temperature increase on Earth, rising by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade.
NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos, who first spotted the disintegration in March, said, “We believe the Wilkins has been in place for at least a few hundred years. But warm air and exposure to ocean waves are causing a break-up.”
Satellite images indicate that the Wilkins began its collapse on February 28; data revealed that a large iceberg, 41 by 2.5 kilometers (25.5 by 1.5 miles), fell away from the ice shelf’s southwestern front, triggering a runaway disintegration of 405 square kilometers (160 square miles) of the shelf interior (Figure 1).
Scientists track ice shelves and study collapses carefully because some of them hold back glaciers, which if unleashed, can accelerate and raise sea level. Scambos said, “The Wilkins disintegration won’t raise sea level because it already floats in the ocean, and few glaciers flow into it.
However, the collapse underscores that the Wilkins region has experienced an intense melt season. Regional sea ice has all but vanished, leaving the ice shelf exposed to the action of waves.”
With Antarctica’s summer melt season drawing to a close, scientists do not expect the Wilkins to further disintegrate in the next several months. “This unusual show is over for this season,” Scambos said. “But come January, we’ll be watching to see if the Wilkins continues to fall apart.”
I believe I will write someday soon an article on the various solutions that might enable us to cool back the Earth. I know that it sounds like sci-fi but there are some interesting ways.
So for this and for much more, stay tuned !
For further details :
- British Antartic Survey : Antarctic ice shelf ‘hangs by a thread’
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