A new NASA study based on satellite images revealed the Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf is alarmingly weakening.
Larsen B Ice Shelf dates back 10,000 years, being an extension of glaciers and functioning primarily as a barrier. With the reduction of ice shelf, glaciers fall in line to quickly diminishing and the global sea levels are rising at an increasing pace.
In 2002 the Larsen B Ice Shelf partially collapsed. Scientists were abated at the sight of splinters roaming from the ice shelf rapidly vanishing in six weeks. In 1995, Larsen B covered a surface of 4,445 square miles. After the 2002 collapse it only measured 2,573 square miles and only one month following the disintegration it measured a mere 1,337 square miles.
Now, the team from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, led by Ala Khazendar gathered evidence that the ice shelf is flowing at an increased pace. This triggers more fragmentation and the appearance of large cracks in the shelf due to water infiltrating the ice walls.
Currently, the Larsen B ice shelf measures 618 square miles. It is believed that the sequence of abnormally warm summers on the Antarctic Peninsula caused the alarming decline.
At the same time it is estimated that by 2020 the Larsen B ice shelf will entirely disintegrate in reaction to the warming climate and ocean temperatures.
In 2012 a similar alarm signal was triggered by the European Space Agency that observed the retreat of Larsen B ice shelf via satellite images.
The results of the NASA study call for awareness and accurate responses in the face of the risks the full meltdown of the Larsen B ice shelf poses to the rising global sea levels.
Image Source: Huffington Post