The sudden collapse of the Antarctic Ice Shelf could be a sign of things to come

This Sentinel-1A satellite image shows the C-38 iceberg on March 17, 2022. The iceberg broke off the Conger Ice Shelf. (Image credit: USNIC)

A massive Antarctic ice shelf covering an area the size of New York City or Rome has just collapsed into the ocean. Scientists warn that while they don’t expect any significant impact as a result of this event, melting ice in this historically stable region could bode well for the future.

Satellite photos show the sudden disappearance of the Conger Ice Shelf to the east Antarctic between March 14th and 16th. “The Glenzer-Conger Ice Shelf has probably been there for thousands of years and will never be there again,” said University of Minnesota glaciologist Peter Neff NPR. While the ice shelf had been slowly shrinking since the 1970s, recent accelerated melting preceded this month’s sudden and unexpected collapse.

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