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10000 Year Old Ice Shelf of Antarctica could be gone by 2020


审校:卷毛凯瑟琳   作者:Unknown   学习指数: ★★★★☆

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"The limits of my language are the limits of my world." ——Ludwig Wittgenstein

ice shelf will disappear

A study published in The Earth and Planetary Science Letters says that the 10,000 year ice shelf of Antarctica, also known as the Larsen B ice shelf, is disintegrating fast and could vanish in the next few years, as fast as 2020. The study has been conducted by Ala Khazendar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

The ice shelf had partially collapsed in the year 2012. Since then the remnant, which is around 1600 square, has been disintegrating fast and developing huge cracks. A wide rift has been found near the ice shelf base. When this rift cracks, the shelf will disintegrate into icebergs and float away into the ocean.

The ice shelf supports a few glaciers too, out of which two tributary glaciers Leppard and Flask have been found to thin down progressively between 20 to 22 m in the recent years. When the ice shelf breaks the supported glaciers will also slide into the sea, elevating sea levels.

Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-author of the study said, "This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers provides insight about how ice shelves farther south, which hold much more land ice, will react to a warming climate."

"These are the warning signs that the remnant is disintegrating. Although it's fascinating scientifically to have a front-row seat to watch the ice shelf becoming unstable and breaking up, it's bad news for our planet. This ice shelf had existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone."

The fast melting of ice is a clear signal of global warming, which has been having major implications on our planet. Increase fossil fuel usage leads to emission of greenhouse gases that in turn increase temperature which is a direct cause of glacier melting away too fast.

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