The northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica has collapsed. Scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported today that the 650-foot thick ice shelf shattered and separated from the continent, forming a plume of thousands of icebergs drifting through the Weddell Sea. Since Jan. 31, the shelf has lost about 1,255 square miles of area. And over the past five years, it has lost about 40 percent of its original stable mass. This collapse is the largest single event in a series of ice shelf retreats in the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 30 years. Geoscientists think the Larsen B shelf has likely existed since the last major glaciation 12,000 years ago. Links
Recent Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center reveals that the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula has collapsed. Between Jan. 31 (left) and March 5 (right), the ice shelf lost about 1,255 square miles of area. MODIS image courtesy of NASA's Terra satellite, supplied by Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Lisa M. Pinsker
Read a related Geotimes Web Extra from February.
Link to media reports about the Larsen B shelf collapse:
Snow and Ice Data Center