10,000-year-old Antarctic ice shelf ‘will be gone within five years’

A new NASA study says that the last remaining section of Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf will have disintegrated before the end of the decade.

The shelf partially collapsed in 2002 and is quickly weakening. 

Two of its tributary glaciers are flowing faster and thinning rapidly, while the shelf itself is  becoming increasingly fragmented and developing large cracks.

“Although it’s fascinating scientifically to have a front-row seat to watch the ice shelf becoming unstable and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet,” said Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, who led the study.

“This ice shelf has existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone.”

Without ice shelves, glacial ice enters the ocean faster and accelerates the pace of global sea level rise.

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