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Icebergs from Wilkins Ice Shelf Continue to Move Away from Antarctic Peninsula

April 15th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - April 15th, 2009

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - April 15th, 2009

Detail of collapsed ice bridge

Detail of collapsed ice bridge

Detail of Latady Island

Detail of Latady Island

Since the collapse of the ice bridge connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to Charcot Island (upper left) 10 days ago, icebergs from the desintegrated ice shelf appear to be moving farther away from the Antarctic Peninsula, towards the open ocean.

The remaining part of the ice shelf’s connection to Latady Island (lower left) is also thinning. Here, large cracks near the island can be seen.

According to the British Antarctic Survery, it is probable that the current reduction in ice-shelves in the region has no precedent in the last 10,000 years, and certain that this minimum has not been reached at any time in the last millennium.

The ice bridge ruptured while negotiations on a new climate deal were taking place in Bonn, Germany. At that time, Greenpeace stated that the shattering of the ice bridge connecting the Wilkins ice shelf to Antarctica was a complete contrast to progress on global action.

A Greenpeace International spokeswoman announced that “The breakup of this ice shelf is in vivid contrast to the glacial pace of the international climate negotiations, where governments are trying to avoid acting responsibly – and bickering about who’s at fault”, and called for industralised countries to commit to cutting emissions by 40% by the year 2020 and following concrete measures to support developing countries’ efforts to decarbonise.

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