Cracking Up

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Antarctic shelf ‘hangs by thread’

A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.

Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.

Six ice shelves in the same part of the continent have already been lost, says the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Professor David Vaughan of BAS said: “Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

“I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly. The ice shelf is hanging by a thread – we’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.”