NYC-sized Ice Shelf Collapses in East Antarctica

An East Antarctica ice shelf about the size of New York City that shielded the Conger and Glenzier glaciers from warmer water collapsed in mid-March 2022.

NASA via AP

An East Antarctica ice shelf about the size of New York City that shielded the Conger and Glenzier glaciers from warmer water collapsed in mid-March 2022. It was the first time since scientists began keeping records of satellite data in 1979 that an ice sheet in eastern Antarctica was observed to have collapsed.

An ice shelf is a floating ledge of ice that extends into the ocean at the end of a glacier. The loss of an ice shelf can precipitate faster movement of the glaciers behind it, but scientists say that the glaciers held back by this particular ice sheet would have minimal effect on sea level rise if they were to accelerate.

The collapse of the ice shelf worries scientists because it was previously believed that the eastern half of the continent was more resistant to global warming than the western half, which has been seeing rapid ice melt.

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