Wilkins Ice Shelf Disintegration proceeds

The narrow ice bridge that was all that was attaching the Wilkins Ice Shelf to Charcot Island has apparently cracked all the way through, though not in the intuitively obvious place, and large areas of the ice sheet are breaking off and forming icebergs. This is the second such event that has been observed, the precedent being further equatorward at the Larsen B site. While thus far the present event has been somewhat less abrupt than its predecessor, it is now comparable in scale and may continue deeper into the embayment now that the neighboring island no longer acts as a buttress.
(Most readers who follow the climate system will recognize that this does not contribute to sea level directly but will reduce the flow resistance of neighboring glaciers and thus will contribute to sea level rise in the future.) (Update: it actually does contribute a little bit.)
There are spectacular satellite photos of the event at the European Space Agency site.
Hat tip to Huntsville, Alabama’s WHNT TV meteorologist Dan Satterfield.


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