The National Aeronautics and Space Administration claims Larsen B will collapse by 2020. Their recent warning is based on the gradual thinning and melting that the iceberg has registered in the past decades.
Larsen B is a well-known and much-studied ice shelf from Antarctica, which has been in scientists’ attention as its melting could lead to significant losses. NASA experts have recently performed new studies on the ice berg to determine its future evolution.
Based on their research, Larsen B is expected to collapse around the year 2020. The hypothesis they have put forward stems from the alarmingly thin superficies that the ice currently has.
The estimated appearance data of the ice plateau was set around 12,000 years ago. Unfortunately, in 2002, Larsen B fell apart causing great part of its ice coating to break into many pieces. Larsen B is located on the Antarctica Peninsula, a strip of land facing South America.
The recent news that Larsen could collapse by 2020 has fueled scientists’ worries as the ice cubes that are now starting to fell apart could head towards South. Experts cannot yet determine the consequences that the collapse could have on the safety of the people.
NASA has further stated that there are no real threats for populations and cities living in the South. Their past researches have shown that the ice bergs forming the Larsen plateau have been melting for years; therefore, the collapse will not lead to a rise in water levels.
A significant growth in water levels could, nevertheless, be registered if the ice pieces stemming from Larsen B fell at a faster rate. The most studied glaciers are Leppard and Flask as the two thinned by 65 to 72 feet (20 to 22 meters) between 2011 and 2012.
Scientists are trying to determine the speed that glaciers normally take to melt, so they could eventually estimate how much ice will be melting after the 2020 collapse. Their statistics have shown that the Flask Glacier is moving with an annual speed of 2,300 feet (700 m).
In spite of the recent studies, the speed of the melting glaciers cannot be precisely calculated. Speed rates may increase if recent efforts won’t prove themselves effective in reducing global warming.
The British Antarctic Survey recently published a statistics showing that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. Warming rates are alarming as the temperature has registered a 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius) growth in the past 50 years. Given these circumstances, the global population could face with sudden changes in temperature levels, higher temperatures and uncontrollable floods.
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