Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

New Crack Found in Larsen C Ice Shelf, Could Accelerate Massive Breakoff

Popular
New Crack Found in Larsen C Ice Shelf, Could Accelerate Massive Breakoff
An aerial view of the Larsen C ice rift. John Sonntag/NASA

A new branch has split off the widening crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf in another sign of the ice's impending breakoff, scientists reported this week.


British researchers monitoring the ice shelf using satellite technology spotted the new nine-mile-long branch, which runs about six miles below the original crack. The rift in the Larsen Ice Shelf, now about 111 miles long, grew by 17 miles between December and January of this year, and only 12 additional miles of ice remain attaching the calving ice to the larger shelf.

The coming breakoff, amounting to 10 percent of the ice shelf, could accelerate the further breakup of the ice shelf and "fundamentally change" the makeup of the Antarctic.

"As of May 1, 2017, we have observed a significant change in the rift on the Larsen C ice shelf," wrote the Project Midas researchers on their website.

According to Project MIDAS, "there is not enough information to know whether the expected calving event on Larsen C is an effect of climate change or not, although there is good scientific evidence that climate change has caused thinning of the ice shelf."

As EcoWatch reported previously, the loss of this portion of the ice shelf will not raise sea levels as it is already floating on the water. However, as these ice shelves disintegrate, the land-locked glaciers they hold back may begin sliding into the sea. If all of the ice the Larsen C ice shelf holds back slides into the ocean, it will raise sea levels globally by four inches.

For a deeper dive:

Washington Post, USA Today, Mashable, Climate Central

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

One report in spring 2020 found that 38% of students at four-year universities were food-insecure. Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller

When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch