}(document.createElement('script'), The instruments deployed include the IcePod, ZLS Gravimeter, DgS Gravimeter, and iMAR Gravimeter. Today, the world population is seven billion and growing, and hundreds of millions of people and trillions of dollars of property are within a few feet of sea level. window.adSetOthAT && window.adSetOthAT('kvblogname=news;kvcategory=news;kvpub=aol;kvpubmarket=us;kvpubsection=news;kvsubj=980522:981523:981525:982665:979305:979926:981973:982661;kvent=3531748:3563351:4185720:3756801;kvcmsid=bsd:23032144;kveditags=iceberg;kventryid=23032144;kvblogger=carrie-healey;'); (ANTARCTICA - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Ross Ice Shelf, world’s largest body of floating ice, lying at the head of Ross Sea, itself an enormous indentation in the continent of Antarctica.The ice shelf lies between about 155° W and 160° E longitude and about 78° S and 86° S latitude.The current estimate of its area is about 182,000 square miles (472,000 square km), making it roughly the size of the Yukon territory in Canada. This line represents the route of the New York City Marathon. window.adSetMOAT && window.adSetMOAT('1'); if (!window.adsDisableFileless === undefined) { (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images), ANTARCTICA - OCTOBER 27: An iceberg floats near the coast of West Antarctica as seen from a window of a NASA Operation IceBridge airplane on October 27, 2016 in-flight over Antarctica. if (typeof AOL === "undefined") { var c = {}; REUTERS/Greg Locke, A view of icebergs remaining after a break-up of Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, January 19, 2009. Savings Interest Rates SkyRocket After Fed Meeting, With the Recent Rate Hike, CDs Become Best Investment, Mortgage Rates Remain Low by Historical Standards – Experts Urge Locki…, 5 board games that are so pretty they’re practically decor, Shop the adjustable resistance band Halle Berry uses for full-body ton…, Amazon shoppers love these best-selling touchscreen heated gloves — th…, Two Savings Accounts That Pay 10x What Your Bank Pays, What Most Americans Don't Realize About Car Insurance, Forget the 30yr mortgage if you owe less than $726k (Do this instea…, How to pay off your house ASAP (So simple it's unbelievable), Congress Gives Veterans A Generous Mortgage Relief Program, Home Mortgage Rates Drop Sharply This Week. read. Beginning perhaps 25,000 years ago, after the orbit shifted again, the ice sheets began to melt and the sea level began to rise. Courtesy ESA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. Four New York Times journalists joined a Columbia University team in Antarctica late last year to fly across the world’s largest chunk of floating ice in an American military cargo plane loaded with the latest scientific gear. While icebergs are known to erratically break from glaciers and ice shelves every few years or so, there have been only five larger than A68a in the last 34 years. // AOL.hmpg_ads.push(c); spaceid: 1197803369, ", More from AOL.com: // hmpg_ads.push(c); Act now. Satellites have identified the most rapid loss of ice there, raising a critical question: Has an unstoppable collapse of the ice sheet already begun? If you change your mind, here's how to allow notifications: Images of the Larsen C Ice Shelf and other large icebergs, An aerial view of the rift in the Larsen C seen in an image from the Digital Mapping System over the Antarctica Peninsula, Antarctica, on November 10, 2016. Six glaciers including the Thwaites Glacier, eaten away from below by a warming of sea waters around the frozen continent, were flowing fast into the Amundsen Sea, according to the report based partly on satellite radar measurements from 1992 to 2011. Satellite image: NASA/United States Geological Survey Landsat. } More than 100 billion tons are lost every year. Kirsty J. Tinto steps out of an LC-130 Hercules on the Ross Ice Shelf. The Larsen Ice Shelf has existed for thousands of years. “I don’t think the biblical deluge is just a fairy tale,” said Terence J. Hughes, a retired University of Maine glaciologist living in South Dakota. } US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting the station as he travels to Antarctica, New Zealand, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and will attend the APEC summit in Peru later in the month. Nicholas Frearson, at left, in the cargo hold of an LC-130 Hercules. } Under its own weight, that ice flows downhill in slow-moving streams that eventually drop icebergs into the sea. nol: true, AOL.enableMobileSearchFocus = false; In the immersive video below, the edge of the East Antarctic ice sheet pours more than 1,000 feet down into the McMurdo Dry Valleys. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. Again?? Icebergs A-68 a and b, on July 30, 2017, and July 1, 2018. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory When it calved off the Larsen C ice shelf, A-68 was the largest iceberg on Earth at the time. “You take a slice through it and you can see a thousand years of history, a hundred million years of history,” she said. Coutesy NASA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. If the rise turns out to be as rapid as the worst-case projections, it could lead to a catastrophe without parallel in the history of civilization. But those computer forecasts were described as crude even by the researchers who created them. URGENT: These refi rates won't last forever. To predict how quickly this vulnerable ice could raise sea levels, scientists need better data than they have now. b = a.currentStyle.zIndex; ... we needed to take measurements directly from the ocean under hundreds of metres of ice. if (a.currentStyle) { Image Source: Yokoyama et al., 2019 var rapidConfig = { An oblique view of a massive rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf is shown in this November 10, 2016 photo taken by scientists on NASA's IceBridge mission in Antarctica. But A68a surprised scientists for other reasons, too. For instance, scientists need to know a lot more about the ground beneath the glaciers there. We went to Antarctica to understand how changes to its vast ice sheet might affect the world. HARP Refinance Program is Over. Yet as they try to determine how serious the situation is, the scientists confront a frustrating lack of information. The surface of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is textured by flow stripes, crevasses and other features related to ice flow and deformation. Satellite evidence suggests that this is already happening in other parts of West Antarctica, and many scientists believe that relatively warm ocean water is the culprit. This is the second of three dispatches from a New York Times reporting trip to Antarctica. window._newsroom = window._newsroom || []; In the Epic of Gilgamesh, waters so overwhelm the mortals that the gods grow frightened, too. The scale of Antarctica is startling. Unlike the Bali-sized iceberg that broke off in 2017, in 2016, due to erratic El Niño weather, an ice patch the size of Texas began to melt into puddles of icy slush, located at the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. In the Bible, God orders Noah to carry two of every living creature on his ark. c.div = divId; The sea level was 20 to 30 feet higher than it is today, implying that the ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica must have partly disintegrated, a warning of what could occur in the relatively near future if the heating of the planet continues unchecked. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images), An iceberg lies in the Ross Sea with Mount Erebus in the background near McMurdo Station, Antarctica on November 11, 2016. document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0], '//c2.taboola.com/nr/aol-aol/newsroom.js'); The project to map the structure and depth of the ice shelf in detail, funded by American taxpayers through the National Science Foundation, puts Columbia and its partner institutions on the front lines of one of the world’s most urgent scientific and political problems. Over tens of millions of years, thin layers of snow falling on the continent — in many places, just a light dusting every year — were pressed into ice, burying mountain ranges and building an ice sheet more than two miles thick. window.adsDisableFileless && window.adsDisableFileless('text'); Ross Sea Embayment, and buttressing the Ross Ice Shelf for most of each year, would allow an acceler-ated iceberg calving rate that would remove most of the Ross Ice Shelf, and how quickly. More than 60 percent of the freshwater on Earth is locked in Antarctica’s ice sheets. At the peak of the last ice age, about 50,000 years ago, the ice sheets grew so large and locked up so much of the world’s water that the sea level fell by an estimated 400 feet. c.mns = sizeMnArray; REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters (ANTARCTICA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) AOL.isWurflMobile = false; // required by dynamic-lede.js, isAutoRotateDisabled() Working together, the two countries are planning to devote tens of millions of dollars to getting better measurements there, having decided that it is imperative to begin answering questions about the region’s potential collapse. // Make sure the atwUAC object exists before putting your function on it In 2016, Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University published a study, based on a computer analysis of Antarctica, that raised alarms worldwide. c.w = width; Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2017. In 1978, Ohio State University glaciologist John Mercer published a paper in Nature predicting that climate change could cause the rapid collapse of much of the West Antarctic ice sheet. !function (e, f, u) { For both Larsen A and B, we essentially went from an ice shelf to ice cubes in a matter of months.” Such destruction of Antarctica’s ice shelves was postulated long ago. Over several thousand years, coastlines receded inland by as much as a hundred miles. [10] [11] It is discovered that a monitoring station in West Antarctica detected a sharp warming of the atmosphere and the presence of clouds containing a considerable amount of moisture during a strong El Niño event for 15 days in January 2016 in the Ross Ice Shelf . The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, from which a Delaware-size iceberg broke away two years ago, could be at risk of collapse. AOL.responsiveEnabled = true; // required by dynamic-lede.js, isAutoRotateDisabled() A platform of ice nearly four times the size of the UK is at risk of collapse. The most vulnerable parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet could raise the sea level by 10 to 15 feet, inundating many of the world’s coastal cities, though most scientists think that would take well over a century, or perhaps longer. broke away as part of the natural cycle of iceberg calving off the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica in this satellite image released by the European Space Agency on July 12, 2017. NASA and University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers have recently detected the speediest ongoing Western Antarctica glacial retreat rates ever observed. ROSETTA-Ice is an airborne geophysical survey of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. If that ice sheet were to disintegrate, it could raise the level of the sea by more than 160 feet — a potential apocalypse, depending on exactly how fast it happened. If it collapses, the ice could flow into the ocean more rapidly, an effect that has already happened on a much smaller scale in other areas of Antarctica. In 2017, author of a report ... Research indicates that a rise of more than 2°C atmospheric temperature will cause major Antarctic ice shelves to collapse and further add to the sea level rise. Scientists once thought that further destruction of those ice sheets was likely to take thousands of years. Improbable as such a large rise might sound, something similar may have already happened, and recently enough that it is still lodged in collective memory. ... it broke off the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica's largest floating ice body. For scientists working in Antarctica, the situation has become a race against time. REUTERS/Alister Doyle, The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image. In the scientists’ worst-case computer simulations, continued global warming will cause the Ross Ice Shelf to weaken and collapse starting as early as the middle of this century. A 100-mile-long rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf is set to break off into an iceberg the size of Rhode Island in between 2017 and 2020. These experts have started to think that West Antarctica, as a fragile holdover, is basically a disaster waiting to happen — and that if human-caused global warming has not already set the calamity in motion, it may soon do so. c.cur = magicNumber; Climate scientists used to regard that scenario as fit only for Hollywood disaster scripts. var isMobile = 0; Researchers have used the IceBridge data to observe that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be in a state of irreversible decline directly contributing to rising sea levels. if (sizeArray.indexOf(e) === -1) { NASA's Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past eight years and is currently flying a set of 12-hour research flights over West Antarctica at the start of the melt season. The modern Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf on Earth, covering an area of ∼500,000 km2. The aftermath of an ice shelf collapse is obvious in Sjögren’s fjord. 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