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Antarctic Ice Collapse

March 26, 2008
Ice collapses like this are indicative of a tipping point or trigger in the climate system; once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
clipped from news.yahoo.com
A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk, scientists said Tuesday.

This is the result of global warming, said British Antarctic Survey scientist David Vaughan.

While icebergs naturally break away from the mainland, collapses like this are unusual but are happening more frequently in recent decades, Vaughan said. The collapse is similar to what happens to hardened glass when it is smashed with a hammer, he said.

Climate in Antarctica is complicated and more isolated from the rest of the world.

Much of the continent is not warming and some parts are even cooling, Vaughan said. However, the western peninsula, which includes the Wilkins ice shelf, juts out into the ocean and is warming. This is the part of the continent where scientists are most concern about ice-melt triggering sea level rise.

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