Global warming triggers Antarctic ice shelf collapse

Satellite imagery from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) revealed on Tuesday that a 13,680 square-kilometre ice shelf has collapsed because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula, around 1,600 miles south of South America. The rest of the Wilkins ice-shelf is holding on by a narrow beam of thin ice, which scientists worry may also collapse.

"It’s an event we don’t get to see very often," said Ted Sambos, lead scientist at the NSIDC in Boulder, Colorado. Scientists said they are not concerned about a rise in sea level from the latest event, but say that it is a sign of worsening global warming.

Sarah Das, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute stated that such occurrences are "more indicative of a tipping point or trigger in the climate system."

See full story