Antarctic ice shelf showing signs of breaking away

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Chris, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    (CNN) -- Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf that could lead to it breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula, the European Space Agency said.

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a large sheet of floating ice south of South America, is connected to two Antarctic islands by a strip of ice. That ice "bridge" has lost around 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles) so far this year, the ESA said.

    A satellite image captured November 26 shows new rifts on the ice shelf that make it dangerously close to breaking away from the strip of ice -- and the islands to which it's connected, the ESA said.

    Scientists first spotted rifts in the ice shelf in late February, and they noticed further deterioration the following week. The period marks the end of the South Pole summer and is the time when such events are most likely, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

    Before the new rifts were spotted this week, the last cracks were noticed July 21.

    "These new rifts, which have joined previously existing rifts on the ice shelf, threaten to break up the chunk of ice located beneath the 21 July date, which would cause the bridge to lose its stabilization and collapse," said Angelika Humbert, a scientist from Germany's Muenster University who spotted the cracks with Matthias Braun of the University of Bonn.

    Wilkins is the size of the state of Connecticut, or about half the area of Scotland. It is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

    New rifts form on Antarctic ice shelf - CNN.com
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    And the problem is ----?
     
  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    None at all. Just continued evidence of the accelerating effects of the warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    It's fun to watch--that'll be one hell of a big ice cube !
     
  5. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    I've been dropping ice cubes in the Arkansas River. This has the effect of cooling water that will eventually end up in the ocean. Before long, this entire global warming mess will be history. I'm just trying to do my part.
     
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  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    The problem MIGHT be that the salinity in the ocean changes as that fresh water ice melts thus screwing up the Atlantic currents.

    Hey, I watch the mandatory TV ecological disasters movies like a good citizen, too.
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Screwing up currents ? Is that something that humans won't be able to adjust to ?
     
  8. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    I forgot to mention that the ice cubes I drop into the Arkansas River contain a pinch of salt.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike VIP Member

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    Assuming you can establish the causal chain, rather than relying on correlation.
     
  10. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    That was done over a hundred years ago.

    The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
     

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