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Antarctic ice shelf set to collapse

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posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 12:56 PM

A huge Antarctic ice shelf is on the brink of collapse with just a sliver of ice holding it in place, the latest victim of global warming that is altering maps of the frozen continent.

"We've come to the Wilkins Ice Shelf to see its final death throes," David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), told Reuters after the first -- and probably last -- plane landed near the narrowest part of the ice.

The flat-topped shelf has an area of thousands of square kilometers, jutting 20 meters (65 ft) out of the sea off the Antarctic Peninsula.

But it is held together only by an ever-thinning 40-km (25-mile) strip of ice that has eroded to an hour-glass shape just 500 meters wide at its narrowest.

In 1950, the strip was almost 100 km wide.

"It really could go at any minute," Vaughan said on slushy snow in bright sunshine beside a red Twin Otter plane that landed on skis. He added that the ice bridge could linger weeks or months.

Is this something we are going to see from now on? I remember when the first one broke away and it was considered a fluke. Now it seems that one happens every year or two. How long until there is none left to breakaway?

Mod Edit: External Source Tags – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 2/18/2009 by Badge01]

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 02:02 PM
how can a floating mass collapse?

it's just alarmist speak, aka. scaremongering. for every of these dire threats to survival, there are a dozen sources which either flat-out deny and contradict the GW party line or expose these warnings as absurdly exaggerated.

let me give you a few examples:

Satellites show overall increases in antarctic sea ice cover

Satellites Show Overall Increases In Antarctic Sea Ice Cove

West Antarctic ice sheet is thickening

then we have this gem:

Satellites Show Overall Increases In Antarctic Sea Ice Cover

Parkinson examined 21 years (1979-1999) of Antarctic sea ice satellite records and discovered that, on average, the area where southern sea ice seasons have lengthened by at least one day per year is roughly twice as large as the area where sea ice seasons have shortened by at least one day per year. One day per year equals three weeks over the 21-year period.

confirming link:

The Tip of the Iceberg: Yet another Predictable Distortion

originally posted at

a long time ago.

Now on to these dire consequences of icebergs melting: from

Originally posted by Long Lance
when it gets serious, the numbers plummet, take the following example:

After a century of polar exploration, the past decade of satellite measurements has painted an altogether new picture of how Earth's ice sheets are changing. As global temperatures have risen, so have rates of snowfall, ice melting, and glacier flow. Although the balance between these opposing processes has varied considerably on a regional scale, data show that Antarctica and Greenland are each losing mass overall. Our best estimate of their combined imbalance is about 125 gigatons per year of ice, enough to raise sea level by 0.35 millimeters per year. This is only a modest contribution to the present rate of sea-level rise of 3.0 millimeters per year. However, much of the loss from Antarctica and Greenland is the result of the flow of ice to the ocean from ice streams and glaciers, which has accelerated over the past decade. In both continents, there are suspected triggers for the accelerated ice discharge—surface and ocean warming, respectively—and, over the course of the 21st century, these processes could rapidly counteract the snowfall gains predicted by present coupled climate models.

now, the total is supposed to be 3mm/a with 0.35mm being attributed to GW, taken from

3mm in the open ocean, 0.35mm, that's what? 0.014" due to GW (estimated) wtf are you thinking anyways? that paper was peer-reviewed, btw.

i've litterally debated this topic to death and all i've seen are dire predictions, thinly veiled accusations (paid by big oil, and other ad hominem attacks) and a hidden agenda leaning towards social engineering. i won't go into details about Dutch refineries selliing their CO2 to greenhouses for $$$, i won't talk about cost-effective (in terms of air tax revenue...) CO2 scrubbers, because that ain't the discussed topic, is it? i'll leave that part to the readers who are of course free to use ATS search at their own discretion...

all i will say in closing is that you cannot expect a glacier to build up infinitely, it'll shed ice at some point. this need not be catastrophic, of course. the idea that human beings are responsible for every snowflake that falls in the drink is as baseless as it is comical.

[edit on 2009.1.21 by Long Lance]

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 02:13 PM
New evidence on Antarctic warming

A BAS team currently on site is reporting that the Wilkins shelf, about 15,000 sq km in area, is probably about to break free.

"It really could go at any minute, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the final cracks started to appear very soon," said BAS's David Vaughan.

If it does, it will follow the course of other shelves that have made breakaways in recent years, such as the Larsen B in 2002.

Although spectacular, such events are not necessarily due to man-made climate change.

To answer your question, Grock, glaciers, which these ice shelves are, are not static models. They grow and shrink, and they flow and calve. That's just a fact of life. And as a side thought, I just want to mention the Earth's climate is also not a static model. It gets warmer and cooler, and it does not spell the end of all life on Earth if it does. I know this might come as a shock to you after all that you've heard from the global climate alarmists, but it is the truth.

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 08:22 PM
In total, about 25,000 sq km of ice shelves have been lost, changing maps of Antarctica. Ocean sediments indicate that some shelves had been in place for at least 10,000 years.

Wilkins has almost no pent-up glaciers behind it. But ice shelves further south hold back vast volumes of ice. "When those are removed the glaciers will flow faster," Vaughan said.

Temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have warmed by about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) since 1950, the fastest rise in the southern hemisphere. There is little sign of warming elsewhere in Antarctica.

The Wilkins once covered 16,000 sq km (6,000 sq miles). It has lost a third of its area but is still about the size of Jamaica or the U.S. state of Connecticut. Once the strip breaks up, the sea is likely to sweep away much of the remaining ice.

"We have at least 25 years of data from satellites, and satellites have the huge advantage that they can see the whole continent," said Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle.

"But the [land] stations have the advantage that they go back much further in time.

"So we combined the two; and what we found, in a nutshell, is that there is warming across the whole continent, it's stronger in winter and spring but it is there in all seasons."

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 02:36 AM

Originally posted by Grock

Temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have warmed by about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) since 1950, the fastest rise in the southern hemisphere. There is little sign of warming elsewhere in Antarctica.

there is a lot of evidence that the opposite is occuring, ie. pack ice seasons now last three weeks longer than 20 years ago, as i pointed out in my previous post.

emphasiszing one localized aspect while deliberately ignoring contradicting evidence is, simply put, fraudulent and unscientific. the agenda is clear, now that Obama briefly talked about climate in his inauguration speech, the pigs are rushing to the troughs filled with tax money. at least that's what I suspect.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 03:08 AM
reply to post by Long Lance

Well if that's your only defense then you don't want a piece of this thread!
Warming in Antarctica Looks Certain

And if you do make sure you read all of the posts and replies!

[edit on 22-1-2009 by SLAYER69]

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 03:36 AM
So umm grock...

If that thing gives way, what are the chances of a pretty massive tsunami happening? Kinda like what is predicted with the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma if it gives way?

The bad news concerns what is likely to happen when it does. With one questionable exception, all the historic collapses of small island volcanoes (in volcanic arcs, not the oceanic island type) have been catastrophic, in the sense that a single large mass of rock fails and slides away into the ocean at high speed. Two collapses in particular, those of Oshima-Oshima (Japan) in 1741 and of Ritter Island (New Guinea) in 1888, produced large regional scale tsunamis, with wave runups of at least 15 m and perhaps in excess of 30 m up to 100 km distant and with significant tsunami damage recorded up to 1000 km away. Each collapse produced a landslide with a volume of 3 to 4 km3: less than 1% of the volume of the landslides produced by typical oceanic island volcano collapses!

(And this is one of the more conservative takes on it.)

[edit on Thu Jan 22nd 2009 by TrueAmerican]

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 05:18 AM
reply to post by SLAYER69


iirc, i was trying to undermine the GW paradigm and call their data into question. the thread you linked is prototypical, btw, including

Originally posted by rizla

Global Warming Naysayers are like the guys in the UFO forum that put everything down to Chinese lanterns. Big Oil disinformation has poisoned their minds. The science is clear: it is happening.

heck, ain't that the exact type of slander i mentioned in my first post here?

sea level rise (which you seemed to be very fond of in the thread) can only occur if land ice actually melted and even then, tectonic rebound would limit the effect:

BOING !!! Greenland Is Rising Because Of Ice Loss

still, that widespread melting has to be established in the first place and pack ice seasons growing longer by a day per year indicates that somebody is fixated with localised readings and extrapolation.

that and simple 'errors'

Warming Since 1990 Link To Data Collection

Blogger Finds Y2K Bug in NASA Climate Data

discontinuities in their curves? if they are capable of 'overlooking' that, they can be trusted roughly as far as you can throw them.

PS: there's your consenus

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 06:10 AM
There is no doubt about Global Warming - its a fact. Attempting to provide data showing inconsistencies and occasional drops and seasonal increases in ice packs as evidence against the medium term trend intellectually corrupt.

The science is absolute on this issue with the exception of web crack pots which are linked to on this site. I have never come across such a profound inability to understand such simply concepts as the climate change denialists exhibit. Sad really.

We should according to the long term data be heading into a period of global cooling at this phase of the long term earth cycle, the fact that we are not is probably the most alarming aspect of the entire medium term trend.

For those of you who insist that there is some merit to the disinformation spread regarding Climate Change then it is imperative that you read such Books as the Republican War on Science. I gives good insight into the public propaganda war waged by the Bush admin along with Big Tobacco lobbyists on behalf of Big Oil - you have been completely duped into thinking this by PAID scientific propagandists.

The sad part of this that the Lavoisiere Group which was set up to put forward this "doubt" and "disinformation" by Big Oil has now been disbanded with the Major oil companies admitting to their disinformation activities and apologising for it.

Sadly however there work still finds voice in the disaffected and silenced whose only outlet appears to be controversial inanities on chat sites.

It was a hoax put forward by big oil which has been admitted to and you STILL believe it.....sad.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 08:46 AM

Originally posted by audas
There is no doubt about Global Warming - its a fact. Attempting to provide data showing inconsistencies and occasional drops and seasonal increases in ice packs as evidence against the medium term trend intellectually corrupt.

iirc, this thread was about the Antarctic ice shelf.

you can talk about estimated total ice mass and people might believe you, but unless they disclose their methods (and genuine raw data...) there is little chance to confirm it. you can measure ice flow rates at certain points and cry wolf, which is fine, as long as these results are put into perspective, ie. as long as related developments are also disclosed.

a thorough increase in the length of the pack ice season is such a clear sign, that the 'OMG it's melting' doomsday prophecy is most likely a lie. once you take into account previous 'errors' (links are there for a reason) and selective reporting, it becomes obvious that the intellectual corruption you're talking about is running rampant elsewhere.

i cannot and will not ignore contradicting evidence, especially if it remains unadressed, ignored or badmouthed. as for the old Exxon tirade - maybe you're a plant of Enercon (look it up if you have to), i've heard there's a fortune to be made off windmills. /sarcasm

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 12:56 PM
*cue crickets*

seriously, what's going on here? Big Oil admitted what? funding one detractor group, then coming out? have i used your Lavoisiere Group as a source? what about the other sources? maybe a setup even, to tar every dissenter with the broad brush of dishonesty? how could Big Oil profit from a scare when alternatives are mostly paper developments? maybe the high prices of yesteryear were just a necessary evil on the path to 'salvation' (which never materialzes, btw), huge profits included. i wonder if the same extent of gouging would have happened unopposed without the GW scare firmly in place, i really do. maybe you should look at the outcome rather than the alledged intention, but that's probably too oldfashioned.

you can't really be so dense that you don't notice your fallacy: paid shills exist, therefore everyone is a paid shill.

as usual, when confronted, nothing but veiled ad hominem, appeal to authority and diversion. you should be proud of your 'enlightened stance'

Originally posted by audas

The sad part of this that the Lavoisiere Group which was set up to put forward this "doubt" and "disinformation" by Big Oil has now been disbanded with the Major oil companies admitting to their disinformation activities and apologising for it.

Sadly however there work still finds voice in the disaffected and silenced whose only outlet appears to be controversial inanities on chat sites.

It was a hoax put forward by big oil which has been admitted to and you STILL believe it.....sad.

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 02:36 PM
I dont really know how to reply to that since i dont subscribe to the "there is no global warming here, go about your business as usual" theory.

I think something very much is happening here and to ignore it could potentially be disastrous to us all.

Sure, im willing to admit that global warming is not real (if shown enough proof i guess) BUT i would still go about my business as if global warming were real. Why? Simple:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worse.

I couldnt concieve of thinking otherwise.

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 08:35 AM
reply to post by Grock

it's really not my fault that GW proponents aren't willing to play with an open deck of cards. i am personally in no position to verify global warming in any reasonable, let alone scientific way, all i can use here is data on the web.

again, this thread is about the Antarctic ice shelf (if the title is any indication), which is supposed to collapse (break off and float away as far as i can tell). while you seem to subscribe to the notion that such break off has to be caused by melting, this is far from given.

even an increasing length of the ice season does not prove anything, because it might still be much warmer during summer, but nobody said so. all we hear is ice breaks off -> GW at work. no additional data, iow, we'll have to trust them....

...which i have no reason to, considering all i've come to know about the movement.

PS: it's a bit OT; but what about the preparations you mentioned? who's actually building water reservoirs in regions where drought is expected to arise or worsen? what about additional dams and floodable area for rivers where seasonal rainfall is expected to increase a lot?

agriculture-wise, sure, certain companies will try to sell you GM crops, as they always do, whose track record has been abysimal from a holistic (and the consumer's) point of view and will likely stay that way because these people appear to be unwilling to learn outside their preferred occupation of blackmail, lying and fraud. what about these preparations? if CO2 was that bad, what about scrubbers. turns out they're quietly opposing it because that way we could use more fuel. well, what can i say?! it seems impossible to extract an honest opinion out of a fanatic.

[edit on 2009.1.24 by Long Lance]

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 09:24 AM
let's see...artic passageway now a reality. kilmenjaro with no ice or snow, pacific island people moved off of island due to rising sea level, 1/3 of greenlands land ice melted, wilkins ice shelf melting enough to soon break away from anarctica....yup...all science here...right?

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 12:27 PM
reply to post by jimmyx

the indignated tone of your response means nothing, because science is not about consensus or a feeling of righteousness, is it?! i've been posting in threads like these for two years or so and even though i did manage to overlook plenty, you're certainly neither the first nor the last who brings up superficially related facts.

regarding the Kilimajaro:


"The real explanations are much more complex. Global warming plays a part, but a variety of factors are really involved."

According to Hardy, forest reduction in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, and not global warming, might be the strongest human influence on glacial recession. "Clearing for agriculture and forest fires—often caused by honey collectors trying to smoke bees out of their hives—have greatly reduced the surrounding forests," he says. The loss of foliage causes less moisture to be pumped into the atmosphere, leading to reduced cloud cover and precipitation and increased solar radiation and glacial evaporation.

you will probably argue that GW is actually responsible for the decrease in moisture, which would of course fit the pattern, but does nothing to increase GW's credibility.

i don't expect you to agree with me, because you haven't (yet?) been exposed to the more sinister aspects of what is actually an ideology, imho. i will still point out what i perceive as wrong and misguided. there are typically several factors involved in changes in complex systems, contrary to what people would have you believe. let me give you another example of biased reporting: the disappearing island myth due to rising sea levels. erosion is good enough a reason, as the following thread will show:


Occam's razor should apply to more than just internet boards

[edit on 2009.1.24 by Long Lance]

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 01:14 PM
I'm really starting to wonder about this whole global warming thing. How long, exactly, has mankind been keeping records about the weather?2 maybe 3 hundred years? Did the ancient Egyptians or people that drew on cave walls make any mention of rising sea levels? The ice caps could have thawed and refroze a couple of times in the last 5000 years and how would we know it? Just because people built cities next to the ocean doesn't mean nature isn't going to do what it's always done. If New York or Hong Kong get flooded out, well, who exactly got in who's way? A tragedy none the less, but don't expect the earth to change it's ways just because you put skyscrapers on the shore line. People think because it's happening during THEIR life time it's the end of the world. I think people higher up may have figured this out but it's another handy fear to keep us worried about something else. And whatever did happen to that "hole in the ozone" I thought it was going to keep getting bigger and we'd all be living underground to escape the suns rays by now.

posted on Feb, 8 2009 @ 01:14 AM
This just in:

University of Toronto and Oregon State University geophysicists have shown that should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse and melt in a warming world – as many scientists are concerned it will – it is the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean that will face the greatest threats from rising sea levels.

The catastrophic increase in sea level, already projected to average between 16 and 17 feet around the world, would be almost 21 feet in such places as Washington, D.C., scientists say, putting it largely underwater. Many coastal areas would be devastated. Much of Southern Florida would disappear, according to researchers at Oregon State University.

“Scientists are particularly worried about the ice sheet because it is largely marine-based, which means that the bedrock underneath most of the ice sits under sea level,” says Mitrovica, director of the Earth System Evolution Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. “The West Antarctic is fringed by ice shelves which act to stabilize the ice sheet – these shelves are sensitive to global warming, and if they break up, the ice sheet will have a lot less impediment to collapse.” This concern was reinforced further in a recent study led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington that showed that the entire region is indeed warming.

posted on Feb, 14 2009 @ 03:32 PM
it would be extremely nice if there was a way to tell which predictions are more accurate, don't you think?

posted here before:

The sea level rise numbers published in the new IPCC report (the Fourth Assessment Report, AR4) have already caused considerable confusion. Many media articles and weblogs suggested there is good news on the sea level issue, with future sea level rise expected to be a lot less compared to the previous IPCC report (the Third Assessment Report, TAR). Some articles reported that IPCC had reduced its sea level projection from 88 cm to 59 cm

so, the IPCC said 88cm, then went down to 59.

what's that in feet again??

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