The Larsen B Ice Shelf, which is located in the northwest waters of the Weddell sea, close to the Antartic peninsula, will melt completely by 2020, according to newest information released.
The thinning and disappearing of the ice that forms Larsen B first started to come into scrutiny after almost half of it broke off in 2002 and then proceeded to float away and melt in just 6 weeks.
2002 was a particularly warm summer for the southern hemisphere (summer here, takes place during the winter months in the northern hemisphere, December, January, February) and the ice shelves are particularly sensitive to changes in the air temperature and in the temperature of oceanic water, this is way they were the first affected by the climate change.
After the major break of 2002, the Larsen B Ice Shelf continued to melt away slowly, but surely and now measures only 618 square miles compared to the 4.445 square miles that it measured just 20 years ago.
The Larsen B Ice Shelf has been around for at least 10,000 years and has never before been so close to melting.
The Larsen Ice Shelf complex is located on the east coast of the Antartic Peninsula and complex consists of three parts: Larsen A, B and C.
The Larsen A Ice Shelf was also the smallest part of the complex and has melted completely in January 2015.
The Larsen C part of the complex is also the largest part and seems mostly undisturbed by the rising temperatures, but what goes on below the ice is still hard to determine and scientists predict that if the rise in temperature will continue its ascending trend, during the next decade, we will also see this Ice Shelf melt.
This means that the enormous Larsen Ice Shelf, which has been stable for over 12,000 years, will disappear after being discovered just 150 years ago.
Satellite pictures of the Larsen B Ice Shelf showed that the remaining of the ice, has thinned out considerably and in a few years it will disintegrate completely.
The warm oceanic currents meet right underneath the Larsen B Ice Shelf and eat away at the remaining ice, thus quickening its demise.
So far, in the Antartic Peninsula, the first three months of 2015 hold a record for being the warmest months ever to be registered.
Seeing as this is the fastest melting of a large Ice Shelf ever observed, the Larsen B has become the center around which debates regarding global warming, constantly revolve.
Image Source: thewestsidestory