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NYC-sized ice shelves collapse in East Antarctica

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An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica, scientists say.

The collapse was captured by satellite images showing the area had shrunk in recent years.

It was the first time in human history that an ice shelf had collapsed in the region, and experts Friday wondered if they had overestimated its stability.

Catherine Walker, ice researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, told The Associated Press that the shelf, which covers about 460 square miles and lies in the Conger and Glenzer glaciers, collapsed between March 14 and 16.

The US National Ice Center (USNIC) confirmed on March 8 that iceberg C-37 had calved from the remnants of the Glenzer Ice Shelf.

On March 17, a press release said an iceberg called the C-38 had broken off the shelf — and calved into two new icebergs on Monday.

Experts had been watching the shelf shrink steadily since the 1970s before ice loss accelerated in 2020.

Notably, the collapse process occurred at the start of a worrying warm spell last week.

Temperatures rose more than 70 degrees warmer than average in parts of Antarctica and areas of the Arctic rose more than 50 degrees.

Atmospheric flow was likely the cause and Casey Station in Australia – the station closest to the ice shelf – reached 42 degrees, or about 18 degrees warmer than normal.

The Coastal Terra Nova Base was well above freezing at 44.6 degrees.

The warming of Antarctica was first reported by the Washington Post.

Overall, the Antarctic continent was about 8.6 degrees warmer than a baseline temperature between 1979 and 2000, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which is based on weather models from the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The Arctic was 6 degrees warmer than the 1979-2000 average.

For comparison, the world was just 1.1 degrees above that average.

The southern continent hasn’t warmed much and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado reported that it has set a record for the lowest summer sea ice, which shrank to 741,000 square miles by the end of February.

The Arctic is warming two to three times faster than elsewhere and is considered vulnerable to climate change.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/28/nyc-sized-ice-shelf-collapses-in-east-antarctica/ NYC-sized ice shelves collapse in East Antarctica

JACLYN DIAZ

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