Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beginning of the end for the Wilkins Ice Shelf?

The Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) image from 27 April 2009 superimposed on an image from 24 April 2009. The margins of the collapsed ice bridge that formerly connected Charcot and Latady Islands are outlined in white. The demise of the ice bridge led to a destabilisation of the northern ice front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, where the first icebergs calved off on 20 April 2009 (area denoted in red). (Credit: ESA (Annotations by A. Humbert, M√ľnster University))

Satellite images show that icebergs have begun to calve from the northern front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf – indicating that the huge shelf has become unstable. This follows the collapse three weeks ago of the ice bridge that had previously linked the Antarctic mainland to Charcot Island.
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