Home Science Antarctic gatekeeper Larson B ice shelf will crumble by 2020, says NASA

Antarctic gatekeeper Larson B ice shelf will crumble by 2020, says NASA


Global warming has had a profound impact on a number of things here on Earth. Most notably, as the climate has warmed, the ice shelves and poles of our planet have been most impacted. Study after study has been released over the course of the last decade revealing just how much impact the climate change is actually having here on Earth – and the life people live here on Earth. However, the most notable change of all is coming – and it appears as though it will be coming by the end of the century.

Ice shelves are important for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason that they’re important is the impact that they have on global sea level. As they melt, the ocean levels around the world ultimately rise as the water is displaced. This is exactly what is happening with one of the largest ice shelves in the world – and scientists now believe that it could be happening by the end of the century. Their belief is that the evidence suggests the ice shelf could be missing by the end of the century.

However, the issues are far reaching beyond the obvious factors. Ala Khazendar of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory pointed out that, “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 has existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone.” That’s big, and that’s a problem that can’t really be fixed or changed.

The study pointed out that, “After the 2002 Larsen B collapse, the glaciers behind the collapsed part of the shelf accelerated as much as eightfold – comparable to a car accelerating from 55 to 440mph.” He went on to point out that, “What is really surprising about Larsen B is how quickly the changes are taking place.”


However, one of the study’s co-author’s pointed out something even more concerning for scientists who will be spending the next several decades trying to understand what is happening here. Eric Rignot, the co-author pointed out that, “This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers provides insights about how ice shelves farther south, which hold much more land ice, will react to a warming climate.”

At this point, it’s the long-term impact that is concerning people – and yet this is exactly what scientists have been saying is on the way for years now. A quick reaction and solution are going to be key in getting to the bottom of what can be done to reverse the damage.

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