Antarctic researchers were forced to evacuate an area because of massive ice shelf melting. New images show that changes which occurred in the Larsen Ice Shelf since the 1980s. The ice continues to tear apart. A huge crack in the Larsen C ice shelf is bound to free an iceberg as big as Delaware from the continent. Unfortunately, Larsen C is not visible on the new image sent by satellite.
The image focuses more on Larsen B and Larsen A. These ice shelves are floating layers of ice which form from the leakage of the glaciers which drift slowly across the Antarctic continent. The massive Larsen Ice Shelf is located on the northeast coast of the Antarctic Peninsula along the Weddell Sea. The sea shelf got its name from Carl Anton Larsen, a Norwegian explorer.
This researcher analyzed parts of the ice shelf in 1893. Based on the data provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), since 1995, this massive ice shelf in the Arctic continuously melted, losing 75% of its mass. According to the images captured by NASA’s Earth Observatory, back in 1995, a large chunk of Larsen A measuring about 579 square miles broke off.
Back in 2002, a larger part of Larsen B which measured approximately 1,255 square miles torn apart. According to the information shared by the NSIDC, these type of events are pretty common, but, nevertheless, such massive collapses have only existed in the last thirty years. The meltdown of floating layers of ice does not necessarily raise sea levels.
However, a study from 2004 shows that Antarctic researchers from NSIDC have revealed that massive sheets of ice have accelerated their course toward the sea. Thus, this flow of ice was proved to have an enormous impact on the ability of sea levels to increase. Christopher Shuman, a researcher who has analyzed these massive ice sheets at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, claimed that Larsen sheet is like a barrier which is bound to prohibit the rise of sea levels.
But, nevertheless, things are not that simple. Once that barrier cracks, the glacial ice from the land starts flowing. Based on the Earth Observatory of NASA, the new images captured were taken by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite, on January 6 and January 8.
Image courtesy of: flickr