Why You Should Care Antarctic Ice Shelf Will Be Gone By 2020


Courtesy: YouTube

Besides the fact that Antarctica is on many travelers’ bucket lists, did you know half of the world’s population live in coastal lands. So what we’re about to tell you…matters. Big time.

According to a new study performed by NASA, Larsen B Ice Shelf – one of the last remaining sections of Antarctica in existence during the last 10,000 years – is likely to completely disintegrate by 2020.

SEE ALSO: 11 Reasons Why #EarthDay Matters To Us Jetsetters

An ice shelf is a thick floating platform of ice forming where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface. Ice shelves are only found in Antarctica, Greenland and Canada. Their disintegration equates to the fact that glaciers will disappear faster and increase the rise of global sea level.

Ala Khazendar and his team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California discovered that once an eye-catching, thick floating ice shelf is now becoming fragmented and flowing faster which creates cracks in the ice shelf.

Khazendar said:

These are warning signs that the remnant is disintegrating. 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.

Two sections of Antarctica’s Larsen Ice Shelf broke apart into hundreds of unusually small fragments (hundreds of meters wide or less) in 1995 and 2002. In summer 2002, the Ward Ice Shelf experienced another major breakup which alarmed scientists. In six weeks, scientists watched the ice shelf vanish in the span of six weeks, which had never been witnessed before. Credits- NSIDC:Ted Scambos antarctica ice shelf

Photo: NSIDC/Ted Scambos

According to NASA, consecutive warm summers on the Antarctic Peninsula can be the main reason why Larsen B Ice Shelf is collapsing. In January 1995, Larsen B was at 4,445 square miles, then in February of 2002, it decreased to 2,573 square miles. In March 2002, it declined further down to 1,337 square miles. According to CNN, Larsen B is currently at 618 square miles, less than the size of the state of Rhode Island compared two yers ago when it was similar to the size of Connecticut.

Khazendar adds:

What is really surprising about Larsen B is how quickly the changes are taking place. Change has been relentless.

Ice shelves are extremely sensitive to climate warming, and other noticeable ice selves in the same region have also been affected throughout the years. This recent NASA research also indicates that ice shelves situated closer to the South Pole will react to global warming.

For travelers, this is a clear indication that ecology must be incorporated into our itineraries. And if you weren’t knowledgeable about the subject before, maybe now is the time to incorporate eco-tourism into your agenda.

Source: NASA. Additional reporting by Jetset Times.

What do you think of the Antarctic Ice Shelf disappearing by 2020? Let us know in the comments.



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Categories: In Crowd

Author:Jetset Times

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