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Antarctica Just Shed a Manhattan-Sized Chunk of Ice- Pine Island Glacier

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By Brian Kahn Published: February 15th, 2017 Climate Central  full article here

The growing crack in the Larsen C ice shelf is the most dramatic example of change in Antarctica right now….Ice around the continent is disappearing as the air and water heat up and the less dramatic breakdowns are just as important to understanding the fate of the ice and the world’s coastal areas. The Pine Island Glacier on the coast of West Antarctica … A massive iceberg roughly 225 square miles in size — or in more familiar terms, 10 times the size of Manhattan — broke off in July 2015. Scientists subsequently spotted cracks in the glacier on a November 2016 flyover. And in January, another iceberg cleaved off the glacier.

… it’s hard to tie these individual events to climate change, but “many studies have shown that Pine Island Glacier is retreating and thinning. That the recent rifting and calving could totally be evidence of an ongoing, rapid disintegration of the ice shelf, mostly due to ocean warming.” The ocean under Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf has warmed about 1°F since the 1990s. That’s causing the ice shelf to melt and pushing the grounding line — the point where the ice begins to float — back toward land, creating further instability….

 

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