NEW YORK: A NASA study has found the massive 1600sq km Larsen B ice shelf that hangs over part of Antarctica’s coast is set to collapse probably around 2020, Reuters report.
According to the news service, the 10,000-year-old ice shelf which partially collapsed in 2002 is on the Antarctica Peninsula near South America, one of two principal areas of the continent where ice shelf thinning has been documented.
A co-author of the NASA report said Larsen B’s demise would provide insights into how ice shelves further south would fare, Reuters reports, with the shelf’s collapse to speed glacier melts much like was observed after the 2002 partial collapse, which saw the thinning of the Leppard and Flask tributary glaciers accelerate.
“This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers provides insights about how ice shelves farther south, which hold much more land ice, will react to a warming climate,” said Eric Rignot, co-author of the study and a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The study, published online in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, was based on airborne surveys and radar data, the news service added.