Recent research by a prominent UK scientific journal and an independent science news publication has concluded that an iceberg on the Antarctic Peninsula is on the verge of breaking off from the ice shelf that it rests upon. Although scientists have been aware of this possibility for years, no idea has been able to pinpoint the cause. This latest study comes on the heels of a separate study which indicated that the ice shelf was weakening at an even faster rate. If the ice shelves continue to weaken at this rate, it could lead to massive coastal flooding over the coming years.
The findings of both studies come on the same day as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meets in June in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss solutions to this worrying problem.
There are two contributing factors to the recent accelerated melt of the ice shelves. One is the overall global warming, which has caused the warming of the ocean currents off the coast of the Antarctic Islands. Another factor is the increased volume of water from melting glaciers into the ocean which is slowly adding to the increased momentum of the ice shelves. If these two factors were not present, it is very unlikely that the ice shelf would be facing a collapse.