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Collapsed Ice Bridge, Wilkins Ice Shelf

April 14th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - April 13th, 2009

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - April 13th, 2009

Detail of collapsed ice bridge

Detail of collapsed ice bridge

Detail of Latady Island

Detail of Latady Island

On April 5th, about one week before this ASAR image was captured, the ice bridge connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf (center) to Charcot Island (bottom left) split in two.

Just one week later, the remains of the bridge appear to be little more than components of the agglomeration of icebergs floating near the Antarctic Peninsula. This field of icebergs was created by the desintegration of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in late February 2008, due to global warming.

The ice shelf continues to desintegrate, aided by the collapse of the ice bridge (see first close-up), which prevented pieces of the ice shelf from moving into the open ocean.

It is feared that the ice shelf will also lose its connection to Latady Island (see second close-up). At the moment, the two do remain connected; however, this link has been thinning (click here for previous image). Many scientists and environmentalists fear that soon the Wilkins Ice Shelf will break off completely, not only from Latady Island but from the Antarctic Peninsula.

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