Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 10, 2016
The Larsen A shelf disintegrated in 1995. Pictured above in early 2002, a massive piece of the Larsen B Ice Shelf the size of Rhode Island broke off and that shelf followed suit. Another mega-berg, almost twice as large as the one shown above, looks ready to calve off what remains of the Larsen C Ice Shelf any time now.
Here in the northern hemisphere, holiday decorations are out and people are staying in as Winter begins to take hold. But the other end of the planet is on the verge of summer, when temperatures warm and ice melts. The latter appears to be starting out with a bang this season:
Remember back in 2002 when a massive chunk of the Larsen Antarctic ice shelf broke off? Well, NASA scientists just found a very, very big crack in Larsen C, the last complete part of the shelf. Measuring in at just over 70 miles long and 300 feet wide, the rift extends downwards about half a mile. The Larsen ice shelf is/was comprised of three parts: Larsen A, Larsen B, and Larsen C. Larsen A, the smallest of the three, collapsed in ’95. Shortly after, in 2002, Larsen B began to fall apart, and researchers began to panic a little. And now Larsen C is going the way of the dodo, as well.
The new mega-berg will be larger than the state of Delaware if it breaks off as expected. And further inland, deeper under the once eternal layers of continental ice, the foundations may be getting loose and slushy:
The significant new findings published yesterday in Geophysical Research Letters show that the ocean is melting the interior of the Pine Island Glacier, which is about the size of Texas. … The findings are the first confirmation of something glaciologists have long suspected was happening, he said. “It’s showing a new weakness in the ice shelf, and it’s showing the weakness may be extending far up the glacier,” he said. “That’s the alarming thing from our standpoint.”
But we may be near the end of disturbing NASA reports of melting and warming. The agency has plenty of scientists and sats to keep up that critical work. But self-appointed Trump spokesman have said they will be gutting NASA funding so that the world’s premiere space science agency can no longer study the most important planet of all, the one we call home.
You have used up your free articles for this month. To continue reading click here to login or subscribe.