Antarctica’s Conger ice shelf has collapsed amid record temperatures, satellite images show

‘Virtually all’ of what remained has now broken off, scientists say

Zoe Tidman
Friday 25 March 2022 20:10
Comments
<p>Sentinel-1A image shows an iceberg that broke off from the Conger ice shelf</p>

Sentinel-1A image shows an iceberg that broke off from the Conger ice shelf

An ice shelf around the size of Rome has collapsed in Antarctica, which has experienced days of record temperatures, according to satellite images.

Scientists said “virtually all” of what was remaining of the Conger ice shelf broke off into an iceberg last week.

It comes as Antarctica saw temperatures 4C warmer than usual, with new records set and one site well above melting point.

The Arctic has also been experiencing much hotter temperatures than normal, sparking alarm from scientists who say it is “unusual” for both poles to be melting at the same time.

As temperatures soared in Antarctica last week, scientists discovered the Conger ice shelf had collapsed.

The US National Ice Centre said an iceberg had calved from the shelf in the Wilkes Land Region. It had a dimension of 1,200 sq km – nearly the size of Rome.

This iceberg “comprised virtually all that remained of the Conger ice shelf”, the US scientists said.

It sat next to another ice shelf which had calved the week before.

The US National Ice Centre said the Conger ice shelf calving had happened by Thursday last week.

The following day, the Antarctic continent as a whole on Friday was 4.8C warmer than a baseline temperature between 1979 and 2000, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyser, based on US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration weather models.

Walt Meier, an ice scientist from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado in the US, said it was unusual to see this level of heating over an already warmed-up average.

In February, the Antarctic sea ice extent – the area of ice that covers the ocean at a given time – reached a record low at 830,000 square miles, which was nearly 30 per cent below average.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in