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Antarctica’s Ice Shelf Shrinking, Shrinking, Shrinking… (Slideshow)

Antarctica’s Ice Shelf Shrinking, Shrinking, Shrinking… (Slideshow)
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One of Antarctica’s ice shelves has shrunk by 85 percent in the past 17 years according to images taken by the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Envisat satellite and scientists say that climate change is the reason.

In 1995, the Larsen B ice shelf was 11,512 square kilometers (4,373 square miles), an area about the size of Qatar. Now it is only 1,670 sq km (634 miles). Prof. Helmut Rott of the University of Innsbruck said that the satellite’s images indeed “confirm the vulnerability of ice shelves to climatic warming and demonstrate the importance of ice shelves for the stability of glaciers upstream.”

Ice shelves are thick masses of floating ice made from runoff from glaciers and are attached to the shore. They differ from ice sheets, which are vast masses of glacier ice that cover Antarctica. Ice shelves are highly sensitive to changes in the temperature and can be hollowed out from below by warmer ocean currents. Ice sheets seem to be stable so far; were they to melt, sea levels would rise and endanger coastal cities and small island states.

Disintegration of the Larsen Ice Shelf

The Larsen ice shelf is a series of three ice shelves that run from north to south on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The smallest shelf, A, disintegrated in 1995, says the ESA. C appears stable so far, but Envisat has revealed that it too is thinning and that “melt events” are occurring for longer periods in the summer.

Larsen B collapse

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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Image of the Larsen Ice Shelf by Ben Holt - NASA via Wikimedia Commons

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86 comments

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10:53PM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Actually, Antarctic has been increased even more since the article http://www.skepticalscience.com/increasing-Antarctic-Southern-sea-ice.htm was published-and headed recently to learn an issue sea expedition finds more data supporting this notion surely.

Well, with no extra-modesty an author might suggest “The X-Challenge: Realm of Senses” might point a hint to readers searching for a reality of planetary environment.

Michael Kerjman

3:03AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

I've been watching the melting of the ice with great sadness for some years.
It won't affect me, but it will affect all the lovely children and young people, as well as animals and plants. Very sad to know that we have people on this earth who don't care and who actively support greenhouse gas emission and other pollution.
Check out: http://beyondzeroemissions.org
Plant trees on Care2 with your butterfly points.

2:07AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

thanks

4:27PM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

FreshWater hmmmmm!

7:46AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

NOAA has reported that last month was the warmest
March on record. While one warm month (or another and
yet another) do not "prove" global warming, enough of them
in a row with few if any interruptions do tend to prove a
warming trend.

When the air gets warm, ice tends to melt. If the ice is on
top of land (rather than on or in the water) it adds to the total
amount of water in the oceans, raising sea levels.

This ain't brain surgery. Even W figured this out before
the end of his Administration.

Some on the far right and other compulsive denial fans
haven't gotten that far yet.

5:36AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thanks for the spread of awareness .

Actually this news should be alarming. But we are afraid that our economies may face some downturn (remember, it is not death, but a temporary one). But if Antartica goes down, it is permanent and very dangerous

10:28PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Thanks for the very telling photos. Should make it vivid to those who don't understand what it means when presented in the printed form.

2:46PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

It is so sad to see how humans on purpose are kiling the Planet that just gives us the life!!!!!!

6:01AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Adapting to global warming is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than mitigating global warming. Global warming is likely to destroy agriculture as the climate becomes too hot and dry to support agriculture which is NEEDED to support civilization.

3:41PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Very sad.....

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