Antarctica’s one of the largest ice shelves is weakening from above and below, making scientists understand the cause of the rapid melting of ice, said a new research.
The Larsen C Ice Shelf has puzzled scientists for long. After the collapse of Larsen A’s in 1995 and B’s collapsed in 2002, scientists debated for decades the reason behind the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelf collapse.
The Cryosphere journal published the new study, which has shed light to this phenomenon.
Utilizing combined radar surveys and satellite data the research scientist studied for 15 years the Larsen C Ice Shelf from. From 1998-2012, they noted that this ice slab lost 4 meters or 13 feet of ice, and lowered to one meter or 3 feet at the surface.
One of the process causing the thinning of Larsen C, reducing its stability is air loss of the snow top layer, called the firn, which has become more compressed, due to increased melting caused by warmer atmosphere.
If this enormous ice shelf will to collapse, it will allow the tributary glaciers behind it to flow into the sea. This will then contribute to the rise of sea-level in the future.
Even more alarming is the crack that is forming on the ice, thereby causing it to retreat further back than formerly detected. Furthermore, the ice shelf appears to be detaching itself from an island called Bawden Ice Rise located in the north edge.