Friday, July 11, 2008

Almost gone

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is now in its final days. Having initially collapsed back in March, it has suffered further collapse, and is now hanging by its last thread:

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is experiencing further disintegration that is threatening the collapse of the ice bridge connecting the shelf to Charcot Island. Since the connection to the island in the image centre helps to stabilise the ice shelf, it is likely the break-up of the bridge will put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk.


According to the image acquired on 7 July 2008, Dr Matthias Braun from the Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces at Bonn University estimates the area lost on the Wilkins Ice Shelf during this break-up event is about 1350 km² with a rough estimate of 500 to 700 km² in addition being lost if the bridge to Charcot Island collapses.

And all of this is happening in the depths of the Antarctic winter. Which makes you wonder what will happen in summer...