Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twice as Fast as Predicted

The Wilkins Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

The Wilkins Shelf began disinteg rating at the end of the summer of 2008, continued to collapse during the winter and it has now been reported that an ice sheet of 14,000 square kilometres has broken off, and has itself broken into several large icebergs, according to a statement from Spain's National Research Council (CSIC).

CSIC scientists aboard the Hesperides maritime research vessel spotted the disintegration, about 1,600 kilometres south of the southern tip of South America. If their observation is confirmed, only a small tip of the huge 16,000 square kilometre ice shelf would still be attached to Antarctica.

In March 2008 David Vaughan, of the British Artarctic Survey said "Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly. We predicted it would happen, but it’s happened twice as fast as we predicted.”
Shirat Devorah