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Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctic, Set to Collapse

Posted Jan 22 2009 4:39pm

Last week we posted some news regarding the growth of the Arctic Ice sheets, which to many, may be good news.  Today we head south of the equator and bring you news of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf once covered an area of 16,000 km 2.  In 1950, the shelf was approximately 100km wide and is now a mere 500 meters.  It has lost a third of it’s surface area, but is still the size of Jamaica.

David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), predicts the ice shelf could give way at any time.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is not expected to raise sea levels very much due to the fact that the bulk of the shelf is already under water.  However, the failure of the ice shelf could lead to more land-based ice making it’s way to the ocean, which would raise sea levels.

The increased thawing of the Antarctic ice shelfs is being blamed on global warming as temperatures in the coldest place on the planet continue to rise.

Source: Reuters




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