Climate change: NASA scientist says ice shelf the size of Los Angeles collapsed in Antarctica
A massive ice shelf collapsed in Antarctica, satellite imagery shows, following record high temperatures in the region. The Conger ice shelf, now identified as iceberg C-38, broke off in the Wilkes Land region, the U.S. National Ice Center said on March 17, after temperatures hit a record high of 11 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11.8 Celsius) at Concordia station, more than 40 degrees Celsius above normal. It is believed to have been about 1,200 square kilometers (496 square miles), around the size of Los Angeles, and hit a tipping point during a midmonth heatwave and atmospheric river, NASA scientist Catherine Colello Walker tweeted.
It is viewed as a significant event, but unlikely to have ripple effects that are widely felt.
“This is just a little guy without too much punch,” Walker added. “But the process is important to study so we know what to expect for the bigger ones.”
Scientists say so-called calving events like this have been increasing in frequency because of climate change. Sea ice shrank to the smallest surface area on record in February. Recent studies found Earth’s melting glaciers to contain less ice than previously thought.