Larsen C: Antarctic ice shelf crack, 6 miles wider, threatens to fundamentally alter Peninsula

Drastic climate change has made the crack grow by more than six miles in the past few weeks.

Picture for representation
Handout photo of NASA's DC-8 flies over the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica Reuters

With every passing year we witness some drastic effects of global warming but we still choose to turn a blind eye towards them. 2017 is nothing new. Probably the first wake-up call of the year is the fast growing crack in Antarctic ice shelf called Larsen C.

According to experts, drastic climate change has made the crack grow by more than six miles in the past few weeks and the cleft now measures more than 100 miles. It is also said that once the crack is completed, it will form one of the largest icebergs on record.

However, the problem does not end here. According to Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project that is closely studying the crack, the break "will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," reported USA Today.

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Andrew Fleming, remote sensing manager at the British Antarctic Survey, when asked about what caused the drastic melting of Larsen C, said that both warmer air above and warmer waters below thawed the ice shelf.

To understand the situation better, we have to know the difference between an ice shelf and an iceberg. Ice shelves are permanent floating bodies of ice that connect to a land mass whereas icebergs are large free-floating masses detached from ice shelves and carried out to sea. In the case of Larsen C, only a final 12 miles of ice is keeping the parent ice shelf to the future iceberg connected.