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Event Details

Polar Melting event report

Category: Polar Melting
Observation: 24.05.2008
Continent: South Pole
Country: Antarctica
State:
Area: Wilkins Ice Shelf
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
Antarctica, which has met unprecedented melting in the last 50 years, has several ice shelves retreating and six of them collapsing since the 1970s. Scientists blame the effects of global warming that has caused 160 square miles of the ice shelf's interior to disappear in Antarctica. The Antarctica Wilkins ice shelf has begun to disintegrate under the effects of global warming. Satellite images by the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center show a substantial collapse measuring 25.5 by 1.5 miles. The Wilkins ice shelf initially broke off on February 28. Scientists say the ice breakage led to disintegration of the shelf's interior, of which 160 square miles have already disappeared. Wilkins Ice Shelf, located 1,000 miles south of South America, is a broad plate of permanent floating ice supported by a narrow 3.5 mile strip between two islands. "If there is a little bit more retreat, this last 'ice buttress' could collapse and we'd likely lose about half the total ice shelf area in the next few years," NSIDC lead scientist Ted Scambos said. Antarctica, which has met unprecedented melting in the last 50 years, has several ice shelves retreating and six of them collapsing since the 1970s. Scientists blame climate warming in the Antarctic Peninsula for the limit of viability ice shelves. The western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the steepest temperature increase on Earth, 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) per decade over the past half century. During this time, the ice shelf breakup has been more than 5,000 square miles which could eventually increase ocean levels around the world. Scientists estimate that ocean levels could rise as much as 4.6 feet by the end of the century. Scientists blame the effects of global warming that has caused 160 square miles of the ice shelf's interior to disappear in Antarctica.
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