Antarctic warmth kills ice shelves.
In the last 50 years, four ice shelves have collapsed along the Antarctic Peninsula. At the same time, temperatures along the peninsula have climbed 2.5[degrees]161[degrees]C, a warming rate much faster than that seen in the rest of the continent.
In the Jan. 25 Nature, Vaughan and Doake note that the ice shelves suffered when the mean annual temperature exceeded -5[degrees]161[degrees]C. This represents the limit for ice shelf existence, they claim.
The scientists cannot say whether the recent Antarctic warmth is natural or a product of greenhouse gas pollution. If the trend continues, ice shelves closer to the pole will disintegrate, they predict. If conditions cool, though, ice shelves could regrow. In the Feb. 9 Science, researchers from Austria and Argentina discuss the most recent collapse, which claimed part of the Larsen Ice Shelf in January 1995.
From this event, they conclude that ice shelves may retreat slowly at first and then fall apart rapidly after reaching a critical limit.
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|Title Annotation:||collapsed ice shelves along Antarctic Peninsula may be due to global warming|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Feb 17, 1996|
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