Saturday, April 04, 2009

Antarctic Ice Shelf Appears Set to Collapse

Back in January it was announced that the demise of the Wilkins Ice Shelf was imminent, with its ice bridge that attaches it to a couple of frozen islands off the Antarctic Peninsula having been reduced at its narrowest point to only a little more than 500 yards. Here it is in April and this ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut, is still here, but it looks like its time is about up according to a report by the Associated Press. Its ever-narrowing ice bridge was observed to have new rifts this week and a large block of ice broke off from the bridge according to the European Space Agency. Scientists are not sure whether the breakup of the ice shelf is being caused by global warming but with the average temperature having risen almost 4°F during last five decades global warming would certainly have to be seen as a possible cause. There are no ice sheets being held back from sliding into the sea by the Wilkins Ice Shelf so there is no concern about a rise in sea level from its demise. That appears to be the only good news from this unfolding event.

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