2 November 2003

Warm seas melting ice shelf the size of Scotland

An ice shelf in Antarctica the size of Scotland is rapidly disintegrating because of warmer seas, scientists said yesterday. They believe that the Larsen ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula may disappear within 70 years.

Although the ice shelf will not raise sea levels - it is already floating on the ocean - scientists say that its loss may trigger a release of ice from the peninsula's mainland, causing global sea levels to rise by 1 metre (3ft 3in).

Researchers led by Andrew Shepherd, a glaciologist from Cambridge University, found that the Larsen ice shelf had thinned by as much as 18 metres in the past 10 years. That can only be explained by a warmer ocean, he said.

The study is published in the journal Science a day after a study revealed that the ice in the Arctic was melting rapidly due to a rise in temperatures, threatening the natural habitat of the polar bear.

Both studies used radar measurements taken by the European Space Agency's ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites. This enabled the scientists to monitor the loss of ice over huge areas of sea at opposite ends of the Earth for 10 years.

I guess if global warming ever happens we can expect the shit to hit the fan. We could always invade Antarctica in the name of regime change.

No comments: