Ice shelf brink of collapse
Mon Apr 6, 2009 11:24pm EDT
Apr 6 - A new survey indicates Arctic ice is thinner and melting away faster than ever before, while in the Antarctic, the Wilkins ice shelf is on the brink of collapse.
A six-year NASA report concludes Arctic ice is thinner and melting away faster than previously thought due to global warming.
The report was released as news that the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica was a on brink of disintegrating.
Satellite photos taken by the European Space Agency confirm that the thread of ice connecting the ice shelf to land had shattered leading scientists to warn that the entire ice shelf could soon break up and disappear.
The Wilkins Shelf would be one of the largest slabs of ice to ever break off.
NASA coordinated with the National Snow and Ice Data Center to collect the data for the study. They combined the results from several ground research expeditions and images from ICESat, NASA's Ice Cloud, and land Elevation satellites.
Arctic ice is important because it reflects sunlight back into space. The less ice here is, the more of the sun's rays hit the ocean thereby heating the planet even more. The warmer the planet, the higher the chance that sea levels will rise. The 'dynamic effects' NASA scientist Tom Wagner talks about are events such as the Wilkins break.
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