Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Huge Antarctic iceberg poised to break away
#1
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38522954

An iceberg expected to be one of the 10 largest ever recorded is ready to break away from the Antarctica. A long-running rift in the Larsen C ice shelf grew suddenly in December and now just 20km of ice is keeping the 5,000 sq km piece from floating away. Larsen C is the most northern major ice shelf in Antarctica. Researchers based in Swansea say the loss of a piece a quarter of the size of Wales will leave the whole shelf vulnerable to future break-up. Larsen C is about 350m thick and floats on the seas at the edge of West Antarctica, holding back the flow of glaciers that feed into it. Researchers have been tracking the rift in Larsen C for many years, watching it with some trepidation after the collapse of Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and the sudden break-up of the Larsen B shelf in 2002. In December the speed of the rift went into overdrive, growing by a further 18km in just a couple of weeks. What will become a massive iceberg now hangs on to the shelf by a thread just 20km long. The researchers say that this is a geographical and not a climate event. The rift has been present for decades, they say, but it has punched through at this particular time. It is believed that climate warming has brought forward the likely separation of the iceberg but the scientists say they have no direct evidence to support this. However, they are concerned about how any break-off will impact the rest of the ice shelf, given that its neighbour, Larsen B, disintegrated spectacularly in 2002 following a similar large calving event. As it floats on the sea, the resulting iceberg from the shelf will not raise sea levels. But if the shelf breaks up even more, it could result in glaciers that flow off the land behind it to speed up their passage towards the ocean. This non-floating ice would have an impact on sea levels. According to estimates, if all the ice that the Larsen C shelf currently holds back entered the sea, global waters would rise by 10cm. All that is very much in the future. There are few certainties right now apart from an imminent change to the outline of Antarctica's icy coast. I personally didn't really care about global warming until reading this article. The world is warming up to the point where giant icebergs are separating. This will eventually result in sea level rise if the iceberg does melt. This is a major issue if the icebergs melt and there are many global projects in the process of coming up with a solution to end that. 


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)