Massive piece of Ward Hunt Ice Shelf collapses

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Arctic scientists are reporting today that a four-square-kilometer chunk of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has broken off.

As reported in the Globe and Mail:

Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further.

Northern explorers have used the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf as a launching point for expeditions for years. But much like the changes that I have witnessed in my expeditions to the Antarctic, things just aren’t right at the other Pole either.

Scientists have been studying the effects of global climate change on the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf for years. “Sea ice cover has been shrinking about 3 percent per decade over the past few decades. We saw a record minimum in September 2002, and the summer of 2003 almost set a new record,” said Mark Serreze, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

According to NASA:

Loss of sea ice can have major implications for global climate. Because of its light appearance, sea ice reflects most of the Sun’s energy back into space, whereas darker seawater absorbs most of the incoming radiation and could potentially warm Earth’s climate. As sea ice continues to melt, more radiation will be absorbed by the ocean.

You can go here for more on the history of the breakup of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf.


On November 8, 2008 Todd Carmichael will attempt to become the first American in history to reach the South Pole, solo and unaided.

Sign up for Todd’s Expedition E-lerts and keep track of Todd’s Antarctic Expedition with live updates throughout the journey.

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