NASA has found that the last section of Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf is likely to disintegrate before the end of the decade. Image Credit: NASA/Operation IceBridge/Michael Studinger


We know that this ice shelf existed for at least 11 to 12 thousand years. In 2002, two-thirds of it collapsed in less than six weeks. In the intervening period between 2002 and now, the remaining part of Larsen B has also been weakening very, very quickly. We expect it will not last for more than a few years to come. This would undoubtedly affect sea-level rise by putting more ice into the ocean. Now we have this rare opportunity of this ice shelf destabilizing and eventually collapsing in front of our eyes. And that will give us incredibly valuable lessons that we could use to understand what might be happening elsewhere in the future. It is certainly a warning. The conclusion is inescapable.
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