Stories tagged Wilkins Ice Sheet

Mar
25
2008

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.