The Antarctic platform that dropped an iceberg the size of DELAWARE in 2017 could now risk unusually warm winds, and could make other nearby glaciers melt even faster
- A layer of ice in Antarctica could be next on the cutting board due to the warm winds
- The Foehn winds that come from the Antarctic mountains are accelerating the melting
- As the snowpack melts, the structural integrity of the sheet is threatened.
- While the breaking of Larsen C will not affect sea level, the melting of the glaciers will result
By James But for Dailymail.com
Published: 18:30 EDT, April 11, 2019 | Updated: 18:30 EDT, April 11, 2019
Scientists say that climate change is breaking through in alphabetical order through the world's largest ice shelves, and the fourth largest in Antarctica could be next on the cutting board.
In 1995, it was Larsen A, located on the northernmost peninsula of Antarctica, which began to crumble due to the melting of the surface; then it was Larsen B, roughly the size of Rhode Island, in 2002; Now, Larsen C is experiencing higher-than-normal surface melting levels that scientists warn could put pressure on the mbadive ice block.
In a new study from the University of Maryland covering 35 years, researchers say a three-year trend of warm, dry drafts emanating from the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula, called foehn winds, could be the culprit of a greater melting.
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Larsen C is the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica and could be next in the cut block if warm winds continue to melt the surface.
WHAT IS FOEHN WIND?
The Foehn wind is a generic term for any warm, dry wind that originates in a mountain range.
In the case of the Antarctic ice shelves, the Florida wind comes from the central mountain range of the Antarctic Peninsula and can drastically accelerate the melting.
The winds increase the fusion, which changes the density of the platform and threatens its stability.
A similar destination has fallen on two other ice shelves in the past and could be happening with a third, Larsen C, today.
"Three years do not set trends, but it's definitely unusual for us to see an increase in the winds of the enemies and a merger badociated with late summer and early fall," said Rajashree Tri Datta, lead author of the new research study.
"It is unusual that we are seeing an increase in enemy-induced melting in consecutive years, especially at the end of the melting season, when the winds are stronger but temperatures are generally cooling."
"This is when we expect the melting to end and the surface will be filled with snow."
To make matters worse, warm winds could be particularly damaging to Larsen C, as they tend to be channeled through the glacial valleys, melting the most fundamental ice structures that serve to prop up the platform.
The fusion of the surface produced by the winds, says the study, has also begun to alter the snow cover of the platform, threatening its structural integrity.
As the melt accelerates, scientists say that water tends to settle beneath the porous outer layer of snow on the platform, called firn, where it eventually freezes again.
The phenomenon causes the outer layer to be denser, which causes the water, which normally flows through the platform, to begin to accumulate on its surface.
Scientists say that this exact process, particularly the increased density of the fire, was what eventually led to the fracture of Larsen A and Larsen B, offering a possible glimpse of what will come if the trend continues.
Scientists warn that the glaciers behind the platform may be in danger of accelerated melting if Larsen C falls.
In the event that Larsen C is knocked down by unusually warm winds, which can raise temperatures by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists say the resulting breakdown will not raise sea levels.
The greatest risk, however, can be focused on its effect of melting nearby glaciers.
Without the platform that supports the glaciers behind it, scientists warn that it could accelerate its fusion process and raise sea levels globally.
In early July 2017, a huge crack in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica triggered the release of a huge iceberg measuring 5,800 square kilometers.
WHAT IS THE ICEBERG OF THE A-68 AND WHAT DID IT BREAK FROM ANTARCTICA?
In July of 2017, a large crack in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica caused a trillion tons of iceberg, the third largest ever recorded, to fall off the icy southern continent.
The huge piece of ice, called iceberg A-68, measures 5,800 square kilometers (2,240 square miles), which makes it about the size of Delaware, or four times the area covered by Greater London.
Since the separation of the A-68, it remains unclear what will happen to the giant mbad, with fears that it could break into pieces too small to be tracked on a satellite and diverted to navigation routes.
In July of 2017, a large crack in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica caused a trillion tons of iceberg, the third largest ever recorded, to fall off the icy southern continent. These detailed images were captured by instruments aboard NASA's Landsat 8 satellite.
Experts have discovered that the cracks continue to grow in Larsen C, and if they continue to grow, it is possible that the ice sheet will collapse.
If all of Larsen C collapses, the ice it retains could add another 4 inches (10 cm) to the global sea level over the years.
Many scientists argue that a birthing event was not necessarily due to climate change.
Instead, it may simply reflect the natural cycle of growth and decomposition of an ice shelf.
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