A group of researchers from Project MIDAS, an investigation team based in Wales and England, reported that one of the most significant cracks in one of the Antarctic’s ice shelves is expanding considerably.
The crack, located on the Larsen C ice shelf, is about 100 miles and is one of the longest ever registered. The investigation team was able to find an expansion of 6 miles in comparison with last week measures.
That discovery was found on top of another 11-mile expansion registered in the second week of December. That adds up to a 17-mile expansion in not much more than a month.
Also, the finding from the researchers allowed them to confirm their suspects about a possible crack in the ice shelve in the upcoming months, and producing the ice formation to “leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.”
A lot of scientists are worried about the outcome of this discovery. The break of the ice could produce the speeding of the ice seaward and therefore destabilize the shelf entirely. This event could translate into the rise of the level of the ocean for up to 4 inches higher. Although, not all scientists approve this conclusion.
Either way, the findings from the researchers made them conclude that a near collapse of the ice shelve is near, and is dangerous, according to the lead author of the study and student from the Swansea University, Adrian Luckman.
“Every advance would seem to bring the end closer. However, the rift has now entered the softer suture zone ice originating from Cole Peninsula, which we believe to be more substantial than elsewhere, so it is still impossible to make predictions,” Luckman stated when presenting the study this Friday.
Project MIDAS discoveries and further objectives
This investigation team is a U.K. based group that is oriented to the study and analysis of different Antarctic zones, especially, the Larsen C ice shelve in the West Antarctica.
This research group has warned about the recent warming statistics and their effects on Earth’s conditions – 2016 was one of the hotter years registered over the history. Concerning polar zones, global warming is provoking a severe change in the structure of ice formations.
The team explains how the future of these areas remains uncertain. Their study is based on several technologies and methods such as fieldwork, satellite observations, and computer simulations of the ice shelves and dynamic climate conditions.
About the recent discoveries from the Larsen C expansion, the scientists have stated that there is a possibility for that ice shelve to follow the steps of its former neighbor the Larsen B shelf. This ice formation disintegrated in 2002, and therefore augmented the level of the sea.
The Project MIDAS researchers said that they would continue the monitoring and analysis of the developments present in the Larsen C shelf as they will report any discovery on their official Twitter account.
Source: Project MIDAS