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Huge Antarctic iceberg a quarter of the size of Wales set to collapse causing global sea levels to soar by 10cm and threatening deadly floods
The rift has been growing over the past month, with the iceberg set to break off soon – Press Association
A HUGE iceberg a quarter of the size of Wales is set to break off from Antarctica, threatening the collapse of a shelf of ice which could bring deadly floods.
Scientists say a rift in the Larsen C ice shelf is growing bigger and bigger – and with just 20km holding it in place, the 5,000 sq km bit of ice is expected to break free in the near future.
The piece of ice set to detach is a quarter of the size of Wales and could trigger further collapses of the Larsen C shelf – Press Association
Scientists say the huge piece of ice will break off over the next few months
The 350m thick iceberg will be a quarter of the size of Wales making it one of the biggest ever seen and currently floats on the edge of West Antarctica, holding back glaciers that feed into it.
This means that when it splits off the glaciers behind it will flow out to the sea and could bring huge floods.
Researchers claim sea levels could raise by 10cm if the whole ice shelf breaks up in the future after Larsen C.
Larsen C’s rift surged in December, with the future iceberg set to detach over the next couple of months.
Research project leader Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University told the BBC: “If it doesn’t go in the next few months, I’ll be amazed.
“The eventual consequences might be the ice shelf collapsing in years to decades.”
Scientists been tracking the rift in Larsen C for years after Larsen A collapsed in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002.
The collapse of Larsen B, a 1,235 square mile chunk of ice, resulted in warmer temperatures after it broke off after being stable for 12,000 years.
The whole of the West Antarctic ice sheet could collapse within the next century, leading to a dramatic rise in sea levels and cities engulfed in water.
Ohio State researchers revealed that “The collapse would lead to a sea-level rise of nearly 10 feet, which would engulf major U.S. cities such as New York and Miami and displace 150 million people living on coasts worldwide.”
The ice shelf is starting to collapse, like Larsen B, above, and could completely break away as a huge iceberg – NASA
The continent is covered in ice and has very few inhabitants beside researchers – Getty Images
Last year a team of British scientists revealed they are preparing to set off on a research mission to Antarctica this summer, where they will be forced to endure -55C temperatures.
They will be based at the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Centre, which is one of the world’s most remote research bases and sits 850 miles from the South Pole.
And the icy continent is a hotspot for conspiracy theories, with internet sleuths claiming that it used to be inhabited.
Satellite images revealed what appears to be a large man-made structure on Antarctica, just months after claims an ancient city could be hidden under the ice.
Courtesy of thesun.co.uk
A small fishing boat heads out into the sea ice near the town of Uummannaq in western Greenland March 18, 2010. REUTERS/Svebor Kranjc (GREENLAND – Tags: ENVIRONMENT) – RTR2BS7F
Greenland’s ice sheet kicked off 2017 gaining about eight gigatons of snow and ice, which is well above what’s usually added to the ice sheet Jan. 1 for the last 24 years, according to Danish meteorologists.
In fact, Greenland’s ice sheet has been gaining ice and snow at a rate not seen in years based on Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) data. DMI reports the Greenland ice sheet’s “mass surface budget” has been growing significantly since October.
Greenland’s “surface mass budget” for winter 2016-2017 is already more than two standard deviations higher than the northern ice sheet’s mean snow and ice accumulation over the last 24 years. DMI data shows the ice sheet added 8 gigatons of ice and snow Jan. 1, well above the standard deviation for that day.
Screenshot from the Danish Meteorological Institute’s website
Greenland’s booming snow and ice gains come after the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) found the northern ice sheet had an “above average” melt season.
NSIDC found “near-average to below-average coastal snowfall levels that exposed bare ice earlier in the melting season, combined with warm and sunny conditions at lower elevations, led to high overall ice loss from runoff.”
Greenland “had a high early-season melt area, the pace slowed in mid-July relative to the warmest years,” NSIDC reported. Early 2016 saw an incredibly strong El Nino warming event.
Greenland’s extraordinary ice sheet gains also come as Arctic sea ice levels stand more than two standard deviations below normal. Arctic sea ice coverage shrank in November, setting a record low, due to “unusually high air temperatures, winds from the south, and a warm ocean.”
DMI notes Greenland’s ice sheet “snows more than it melts,” but adds that “calving of icebergs also adds to the total mass budget of the ice sheet.”
“Satellite observations over the last decade show that the ice sheet is not in balance,” according to DMI. “The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.”
Courtesy of dailycaller.com
An estimated 150,000 Adelie penguins living in Antarctica have died after an iceberg the size of Rome became grounded near their colony, forcing them to trek 60km to the sea for food.
The penguins of Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay used to live close to a large body of open water. However, in 2010 a colossal iceberg measuring 2,900 square kilometres became trapped in the bay, rendering the colony effectively landlocked.
Penguins seeking food must now waddle 60km to the coast to fish. Over the years, the arduous journey has had a devastating effect on the size of the colony.
Since 2011 the colony of 160,000 penguins has shrunk to just 10,000, according to research carried out by the Climate Change Research Centre at Australia’s University of New South Wales. Scientists predict the colony will be gone in 20 years unless the sea ice breaks up or the giant iceberg, dubbed B09B, is dislodged.
Penguins have been recorded in the area for more than 100 years. But the outlook for the penguins remaining at Cape Denison is dire.
“The arrival of iceberg B09B in Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, and subsequent fast ice expansion has dramatically increased the distance Adélie penguins breeding at Cape Denison must travel in search of food,” said the researchers in an article in Antarctic Science.
“The Cape Denison population could be extirpated within 20 years unless B09B relocates or the now perennial fast ice within the bay breaks out”
“This has provided a natural experiment to investigate the impact of iceberg stranding events and sea ice expansion along the East Antarctic coast.”
In contrast, a colony located just 8km from the coast of Commonwealth Bay is thriving, the researchers said.
The iceberg had apparently been floating close to the coast for 20 years before crashing into a glacier and becoming stuck.
Courtesy of theguardian.com