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Massive ice shelf, larger than New York City, is collapsing and breaking away from Antarctica after record temperatures

A MASSIVE ice shelf larger than New York City collapsed and broke away from Antarctica after record temperatures.

The 460-square-mile chunk of ice fell into the ocean in a unique event observed by scientists in the region.

The ice shelf before it collapsed

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The ice shelf before it collapsedCredit: AP
Scientists said they had never seen an ice shelf collapse in this region of Antarctica

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Scientists said they had never seen an ice shelf collapse in this region of AntarcticaCredit: AP

It was much larger than New York City, which is 300 square miles.

Autumn struck last Thursday when temperatures soared to -11.8C, more than 40C warmer than usual in some parts of East Antarctica.

Satellite photos show that the area had shrunk rapidly in recent years.

Ice shelves prevent snow and ice from falling into the ocean and causing sea levels to rise. They take thousands of years to form.

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The collapsed piece of ice kept the warmer water out in the Conger and Glenzer glaciers.

Scientists said the warmer weather events were related to heat and humidity moving poleward and winds blowing out of Australia.

Prof Alex Sen Gupta said: “We had a combination of strong weather systems over the Southern Ocean south of Australia that aligned to produce very strong poleward winds that stretched from Australia to eastern Antarctica.”

Prof Julie Arblaster from Monash University added that atmospheric flux is also a factor.

She said, “These are moisture fluxes in the air that bring warm and humid air to certain places, and a really significant one occurred in this region over Antarctica.”

University of Minnesota glaciologist Peter Neff added, “The climate is incredibly variable, but this was off scale.”

The continent lost an average of 149 billion tons ice per year from 2002 to 2020, according to NASA.

Casey Station in Australia, which is closest to the collapsed ice shelf, recorded 5.6C – 10C warmer than normal last week.

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8562386/ice-shelf-new-york-breaks/ Massive ice shelf, larger than New York City, is collapsing and breaking away from Antarctica after record temperatures

Fry Electronics Team

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