Antarctic “Larsen B” Ice shelf shatters

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Abstract

The break-up of a Connecticut-sized ice shelf on Antarctica in just about a month's time is not cause for alarm in itself, but suggests that some other ice shelves “are closer to the limit than we thought,” according to Ted Scambos, glaciologist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. On 18 March, Scambos and other scientists announced the loss of more than 3,200 square kilometers of the ice shelf, known as “Larsen B,” located on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The ice shelf began breaking up in January, and analysis of a 7 March image from NASA's Terra satellite confirmed the disintegration. With this recent event, the 220-meter-thick Larsen ice shelf has lost 5,700 square kilometers in the past 5 years, according to NSIDC.

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