Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Latest Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration

Satellite imagery reveals that a 13,680 square kilometer of Wilkins Ice Shelf has begun to collapse in the western Antarctic Peninsula since February 28. In the past 50 years, the area has experienced the biggest temperature increase on the earth, around 0.5 degree Celcius per decade. This ice shelf has been in place for a few hundred years, but the temperature increase has caused a break-up.

Scientists track ice shelves collapses because some of them hold back glaciers, which if unleashed, will raise the sea level. Fortunately Wilkins disintegration will not raise the sea level because it already floats in the ocean. However, this collapse shows that the region has experienced an intense melting season.

Pictures and complete coverage is available in Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World.

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