The Larsen C Ice Sheet is Breaking Up

Previously there had been news about part of an ice sheet splitting off — the size of Delaware. Just a few weeks ago, the unimaginable happened, and the large, broken off iceberg is a sign for change.

The Larsen C ice shelf is located in Antarctica, and has shown potential for splitting in recent months. Even the newly broken iceberg is starting to break apart slowly. As explained by Brian Kahn in his article on Live Science, “The iceberg has traveled about 1.5 miles from the ice shelf it was formerly attached to. A piece of ice the size of Delaware moving across the choppy waters of the Weddell Sea was bound to experience an almost unbearable amount of stress […] Rising temperatures could melt them and send land ice tumbling into the sea faster, raising sea levels around the world,” (Kahn). Check out Kahn’s article for more information on the Larsen C ice sheet and the iceberg, A68. When icebergs this large break off, it can be detrimental to not only the surrounding environment, but also other parts of the globe.

This type of melting and splitting has been seen on both poles. In the North Pole, species such as polar bears are affected by the thinning and unstable ice sheets that they reside on. In the South Pole, creatures such as penguins also depend in on their habitat, and their lives would be altered if the splitting continues at this rate. These are just two of the array of species that will be put in danger due to rapid changes of their environment. With the intricate food webs of these animals, changes to one species population can easily impact other animals dependent on that specific species.

The melting and splitting of ice sheets is a result of climate change. Rising sea levels are dangerous for coastal communities and countless other ecosystems. With the sea level changes, the global melting of icebergs can stop the thermohaline circulation, which would be detrimental to ocean life. Many lives would be permanently affected.

It is clear that climate change is a real issue, and it must be combated together. Hopefully, we can prevent further damage to our planet.

 

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