Antarctica on the rocks: Major ice collapse is occuring

Ice capade: Aerial views of the ice sheet breaking at the Wilkins Ice Sheet in Antarctica show the massive amount of ice that's come free in the past month.
Ice capade: Aerial views of the ice sheet breaking at the Wilkins Ice Sheet in Antarctica show the massive amount of ice that's come free in the past month.Courtesy National Snow and Ice Data Center/NASA
So we’ve been grumbling the past few days about the latest round of snow and ice that’s descended upon us in the early days of spring. At least we’re a long way from Antarctica.

The National Snow and Ice Center today reported, and released photos, of a huge ice sheet collapse from the cold continent. About 160-square miles of ice have broken free from the Wilkins ice sheet since Feb. 28 in some major league size pieces. While the Wilkins ice sheet is about the size of Connecticut, one large portion of broken ice sheet is seven times larger than the Manhattan district of New York City.

While that’s a big chuck of ice to break free, larger ice collapses have happened two other times since scientists have been monitoring the site: in 1995 and 2002. Yet, the experts are saying that this latest ice break is another sign of global climate change.

Other portions of the ice shelf are hanging on by thin margins and one expert predicts that the entire shelf could be gone in 15 years. Cracks in the thin ice fill with water, which accelerates the melting, and leads to more major ice breaks.

Here's a link to some great video of the fragile ice sheet area from National Geographic.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Alan Roberta's picture

The latest news about climate change is so alarming (the right wing would say alarmist) as to make many people want to plant their aching heads in the sand. Some scientists using advanced computer models now argue that if we want to stop the Earth from warming, the amount of carbon we should be emitting is ... none. None? As in, zero? As in, shutting down the global industrial economy? After all, global energy demand is expected to accelerate until at least 2020. Yet attempts even to slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions have paralyzed world politics for more than a decade.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 4:59am
shanee's picture
shanee says:

omg! a bunch of falling ice is basically what s being said..thats really scary especially for that poor animals.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 10:04am
Jon Gustafson Smith George's picture
Jon Gustafson Smith George says:

How come people keep saying that the Alska animals are going to die in about 3 years?

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 11:07am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I have never heard anyone say that. Do you have a citation?

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 10:05pm
diamond2008's picture
diamond2008 says:

aww poor animals

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 2:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

no its more like POOR US cuz it can affect us too!

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 5:48pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Of course, Antarctica is just coming out of the Southern Hemisphere summer, when we would expect ice to melt.

According to the New York Times, in 2007 Antarctic sea ice reached the highest level ever recorded. NASA studies indicate that Antarctic sea ice has been increasing for decades. This graph shows current levels of Antarctic sea ice. As of today, it's about 1 million square miles above average, and has been above average for several months.

Of course, things can change. A single data point, like a single event, doesn't tell us much about long-term trends.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 10:14pm
hmoob_muas's picture
hmoob_muas says:

this is scary, will other big chunks break off...

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:44am
flinch619's picture
flinch619 says:

it sad that stuff like this can happen and still we do close to nothing about global warming. just think.....if Al Gore won in 2000.


posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:51am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

[shudder] I prefer not too. ;-)

But seriously, even if human action can roll back global warming, it is extremely unlikely that the actions of one country would have had a measurable effect in just 8 years.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:43am
MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

its sad though that this is only going to get worse

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:56am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Actually, global temperatures have levelled off and even gone down over the past ten years.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:41am
tiffany_88's picture
tiffany_88 says:

Well is the results of the global warming, if the consequences are so bad. Because the change in the earth are be most presents.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:56am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

hey guys this could be our solution to global warming a huge ice cube in the ocean and we didnt even have to make it. it will cool us of haha
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:04am
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

well even if we are far away from Antarctica, but the water going to effect us as more Ice are melting

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:07am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

that sux
if only we can do anything about it

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:08am
BLB's picture
BLB says:

I didn't realize that stuff is that big. But for 160 square miles to break off,, that is crazy.. Global warming is in affect!!!


posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:09am
Candice_318's picture
Candice_318 says:

and they say global warming isn't taking place and this is usual... right

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posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:17am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Major ice breaks have occurred in the past. According to NASA, the amount of ice in Antarctica is increasing, which may have something to do with this large break.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:40am
montez's picture
montez says:

ok thats crazy because that means theres a big problem with global warming because of all the ice an snow is melting

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:23am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i believe that if it weren't for global warming, we'd all be frozen to death. not trying to be gruesome or anything. that's just what i think.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:48am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Meanwhile, ice is thickening in Canada.

posted on Tue, 04/01/2008 - 2:14pm
Matthew's picture
Matthew says:

this is COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Tue, 04/01/2008 - 3:36pm

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