UCF Global Perspectives


Continuing Shift in the Antarctic

Zachary Good, Alexandra Cousteau Environment and Global Climate Change Fellow

February 10, 2017

Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf, Larsen C, could suffer a full break as a quickly advancing crack is making its way through the shelf (NYT). The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length and is only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf (NYT). Adrian J. Luckman of Swansea University in Wales, who is a lead researcher for Project Midas said “the iceberg is likely to break free within the next few months” given its current history and trajectory (NYT). Luckman argues this is probably a natural event that has just been bound to happen and is not “directly attributable to any warming in the region” (NPR).

The Larsen Ice Shelf is composed of three interconnected formations that grew out from the Antarctic Mainland over tens of thousands of years (VOA). If this break occurs, it will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, the research team monitoring the rift (NYT). The ice shelves breaking off could be problematic because they hold back water from all the inland glaciers (NPR). The break is not expected to contribute to any rising sea levels but may leave the rest of the Larsen C ice shelf vulnerable (VOA).






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