A huge iceberg size of DE is poised to break-off from Antartica. The soon-to-be iceberg makes up 10% of the ice shelf. BBC reports that if all the ice that Larsen C holds back were released into the ocean, global waters would rise by 10 cm, or four inches. If it were to collapse there would be nothing holding the glaciers up and they would start to flow quite quickly indeed'.
However, Larsen C, which averages a thickness of 350 metres, has likely been there for thousands of years, since the last interglacial period.
"After a few months of steady, incremental advance since the last event, the rift grew suddenly by a further 18 kilometers [about 11 miles] during the second half of December 2016".
And now there is just 12,5 km (20 km) of ice keeping the piece of floating away. Larsen C is a hugely important part in Antartica as prevents and protects glaciers and other ice sheets in the region from flowing away.
Researchers have been tracking the rift in Larsen C for many years. Whether it's the cause of recent ice shelf collapses is yet to be determined.
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But while those explanations may fit an ordinary FRB, FRB 121102 is repeating, and that brings a new wrinkle into the equation. Their brevity, combined with the fact that it's hard to pinpoint their location, have ensured their origins remain enigmatic.
The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later. Unfortunately, there is not much it can be done to keep it from breaking off.
"There hasn't been enough cloud-free Landsat images but we've managed to combine a pair of ESA Sentinel-1 radar images to notice this extension, and it's so close to calving that I think it's inevitable". "Only a final 20 km of ice now connects an iceberg one quarter the size of Wales to its parent ice shelf". They are convinced that the remaining ice shelf will be less stable than the present one.
"O'Leary added that while calving is a natural process that happens every decade or so and is not driven by climate change, the disintegration of a major shelf could accelerate the melting of glacial ice linked to warming oceans".
Preliminary computer modelling shows this might spell doom for Larsen C as a whole, although it's too soon to tell-and Professor King emphasises we may not know the whole situation for years to come. But if the shelf breaks up even more, it could result in glaciers that flow off the land behind it to speed up their passage towards the ocean.