Climate ChangeNASAMakes Statement

Antarctic ice shelf disintegrating

15 May, 2015

NASA reports that the last intact section of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years, is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels. What is left covers about 1,600 square km.  A NASA glaciologist says analysis of the data reveals that a widening rift in Larsen B will eventually break it apart completely, probably around the year 2020. Once that happens, glaciers held in place by the ice shelf will slip into the ocean at a faster rate and contribute to rising sea levels.

This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers provides insights about how ice shelves farther south, which hold much more land ice, will react to a warming climate.

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