New Nasa studies warn of “bad news for our planet” as looming crack threatens to shatter Larsen B ice-shelf into pieces
Antarctica’s Larsen B ice-shelf is on course to disintegrate completely within the next five years, according to a new study by Nasa, the US space agency.
The 10,000-year-old ice shelf, which partially collapsed in 2002, is “quickly weakening” and likely to “disintegrate completely” before the end of the decade, researchers predicted, after observing warning signs including large developing cracks and faster-flowing tributary glaciers.
“These are warning signs that the remnant is disintegrating
The scientists fear that the cracking of the shelf could see the three glaciers – named Leppard, Flask and Starbuck – accelerate rapidly towards the ocean.
“After the 2002 Larsen B collapse, the glaciers behind the collapsed part of the shelf accelerated as much as eightfold – comparable to a car accelerating from 55 to 440mph,” said a Nasa release on the study published online in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.