A huge floating ice shelf twice the size of Rhode Island is tragically in the process of breaking apart in the Antarctic.?The Larsen B ice shelf had been around 12,000 years until it began its path to destruction in 2001.
Scientists Credit History Of Warming
A giant crack has appeared a mere 7.5 miles from the place where the ice shelf moved away from the ground and now floats in the ocean. Scientists believe that ice is also melting on the underside of the ice shelf, because the ocean water is warmer.
The Antarctic is the fastest warming part of the world, increasing five degrees in just the past 50 years. Ala Khazendar is a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California published in in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
“This presents a large-scale natural experiment. Here we have an ice shelf in the process of fragmentation, so we can keep an eye on it and learn as much as we can about the process before it disintegrates and disappears.”
Location Of Ice Shelf
Land-based glaciers feed the monsterous ice shelf which is partially on land (Antarctica Peninsula) and partly a floating ice island. And those glaciers have not only thinned, they have?sped up eight times their 2002 speed.
Countdown To Extinction
Researchers believe that the entire ice shelf may be gone by 2020.?Khazendar said,
“It’s really startling to see how something that existed on our planet for so long has disappeared so quickly.”
“What matters is how much more ice the glaciers will dump into the ocean once this ice shelf is removed. Some of these glaciers are most likely already contributing to sea level rise because they are in the process of accelerating and thinning.”
One of the earth’s most spectacular sites is disappearing before us. The question now becomes, what will happen next?
You can watch the video below, which describes what is happening to the ice shelf and why it maybe be completely gone within five years.