11 July, 2008

New evidence has emerged that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica is breaking up, in a troubling sign of global warming, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday 10 July 2007.

Wilkins ice shelf (note image resolution below)
On March 25th 2008 British Antarctic Survey released dramatic satellite and video images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf as it looked set to be the latest to break out from the Antarctic Peninsula. Images showed that a large part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula was supported only by a thin strip of ice hanging between two islands. The break out is another identifiable impact of climate change on the Antarctic environment.
NB: the original image is only 2000 x 1100 pixels

Images taken by its Envisat remote-sensing satellite show that Wilkins Ice Shelf is “hanging by its last thread” to Charcot Island, one of the plate’s key anchors to the Antarctic peninsula, ESA said in a press release.
“Wilkins Ice Shelf is the most recent in a long, and growing, list of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula that are responding to the rapid warming that has occurred in this area over the last fifty years,” researcher David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said.

Note for picture editors.  To obtain images of Wilkins Ice Shelf captured by British Antarctic Survey in March 2008 visit http://www.photo.antarctica.ac.uk/external/guest search for keyword ‘Wilkins’