NASA scientists recently completed a study regarding the remaining section of Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf. The shelf partially collapsed in 2002, and the remaining portion has weakened and is likely to disintegrate completely by 2020.
“What is really surprising about Larsen B is how quickly the changes are taking place,” says Ala Khazendar, who led the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Change has been relentless.”
The team used data on ice surface elevation and underlying bedrock depths that were captured by instruments aboard NASA’s Operation IceBridge multiyear airborne survey. The data were augmented by iceflow speed data collected by spaceborne synthetic aperture radar sensors since 1997.
The remaining portion of the Larsen B Ice Shelf is 625 square miles in area and about 1,640 feet thick at its deepest point. A crack near the ice shelf’s grounding point has been growing, and it’s assumed the crack will widen and extend all the way across.
The paper is online in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
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