by Janet RitzCross-posted on Reuters
A new expedition by the Canadian military has uncovered vast cracks in the Ward Ice Shelf, the Arctic's largest, leading to new concerns that climate change is producing a collapse of ice shelves faster than anticipated [video]:
One of the expedition's scientists, Derek Mueller of Trent University, Ontario, [reported]: "I was astonished to see these new cracks.This follows the partial (gigantic) collapse of the Antarctic's Wilkins Ice Shelf as reported in this article from February:
"It means the ice shelf is disintegrating, the pieces are pinned together like a jigsaw but could float away," Dr Mueller explained.
The National Ice and Snow Institute (NISDC) has released a report documenting a dramatic and troubling collapse of a large portion (nine times the size of Manhattan) of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica.Scientists now report a 23% loss of sea ice due to climate change in the last year alone, citing the changes in the ice shelves as impacted by the same forcings.
The shifting of the ice has also led to potential disputes over Arctic sovereignty rights, an increasing consideration for countries that hope to tap natural resources that may become exposed by the melting ice. The Canadian expedition was part of an effort to determine territory in a changing terrain, as the different nations who lay claim to the Arctic try to solve the melting jigsaw puzzle the Arctic's ice has become.
What is not in dispute: The ice is collapsing.
Labels: Antarctic, Arctic, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming, Ice Shelf, Reuters