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A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months 335

Jugal K Patel, writing for the NYTimes: A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica's fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source). The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf. Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon.
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A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months

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  • Well, damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @03:30PM (#53820715) Homepage

    It's a good thing that climate change is a load of bollocks according to the Trump administration. I'm sure a group of people as competent as the ones that are around Trump know what they're talking about. I mean, otherwise, we might have to be worried.

    (THIS IS SARCASM)

    • If we don't observe it, maybe it won't happen

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      EXACTLY!

      This is the work of liberals! they are out there pushing on the glacier causing the crack trying to discredit our glorious leader!

      Do not believe the thinkers! They will distract you from the one true path!

  • So What (Score:5, Funny)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @03:36PM (#53820753)

    So a chunk of ice falls into the ocean. It'll cool the ocean a bit. I though you wanted it to be colder. Make up your damned minds!

    • If a chunk of ice breaks off and nobody from an extinct species is there to hear it, did the climate actually change?
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @03:42PM (#53820813)
  • by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @03:44PM (#53820823)

    Scientists actually don't believe this particular instance to be caused by climate change. So, if people could read up a bit and post something thoughtful instead of having a knee jerk anti-Trump comment, that would be awesome.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OakDragon ( 885217 )

      Scientists actually don't believe this particular instance to be caused by climate change. So, if people could read up a bit ...

      This seems counter-intuitive (since everything is caused by climate change). Do you have a source or link?

      • by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @03:57PM (#53820931)

        There is endless documentation about this. Even the article Slashdot linked says nothing about climate change. For a mainstream media example: http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]
        "There is no direct evidence to link this event to climate change, he added. Although the general ice shelf decay along the Antarctic Peninsula has been linked to a warming world, this rift appears to have been developing for many decades, and the result is likely natural, according to Project MIDAS."

        Changes in the antarctic are a complicated subject, I suggest reading up before making assumptions.

        • Give us proof that the crack and the warming started before the industrial revolution and we'll believe you.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Njovich ( 553857 )

            Not sure if you are joking, but interestingly the Antarctic has been warming up for over 50000 years (obviously, not every year, decade or century or even millennium has been warmer than the last, but the overall trend has been one of raising temperatures). However, the amount of ice on Antarctica is actually still increasing (as warming doesn't mean that it's warm).

          • by e r ( 2847683 )
            Post hoc ergo propter hoc [wikipedia.org] (in other words: correlation neither proves nor implies causation)
      • by Njovich ( 553857 )

        since everything is caused by climate change

        Perhaps in some butterfly effect type of way, but if you turn on your oven it will get hotter in your oven, yet climate change is not a particularly meaningful factor there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Scientists are classifying the calving as a geographic event, as opposed to a climate event. It is something that will change the Antarctic landscape and is not necessarily a result of climate change. O'Leary backs that up, saying this event "...is a natural process which occurs once every few decades (the last major event on Larsen C was in the mid-80s)."

        From the article.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Got a source for that, Kellyanne?

    • Scientists actually don't believe this particular instance to be caused by climate change. So, if people could read up a bit and post something thoughtful instead of having a knee jerk anti-Trump comment, that would be awesome.

      Yes, the world is divided into 256m3 chunks and z-indexed into a quadtree... at the largest chunk size no interaction occurs with adjacent chunks, this is believed to be a bug introduced by an intersection test optimisation implemented by the creator. A nice side effect is that global warming doesn't affect other things around the world.

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        256m3, quadtree, it is weird. maybe it is 256m2 squares with 1m height resolution.
        With such confusing specifications, bugs are to be expected. Furthermore, this problem sounds a lot like premature optimization. And look at our world, we can't do anything without being overwhelmed by side effects. The creator certainly has good intuition but he is a lousy coder. I'd hate to work with him.

    • I read up a bit on it, and thought about it. This is on the south side of the Antarctic peninsular. 2017 is when Trump became president. If I were this IceShelf I wouldn't want to be any closer to America right now than I had to be either. It's just trying to put more distance between itself and Trump.

      Ergo, Trump's fault.

    • Absolutely. My understanding is that this was caused by a sudden rise in the number of neutrinos from the Sun, from a solar flare (the Helmsley-Surtani event) created during 2011. There's nothing to worry about.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      I think you are mistaken. If you had, instead, said "Scientists actually don't believe this particular instance to be directly caused by climate change" then you'd probably have been correct, though even then you'd be better off qualifying which scientists you meant. E.g., I wouldn't count the opinion of a solid-state physics researcher as any more valid than my own. So perhaps a better phrasing would be "Scientists in the field actually don't believe this particular instance to be directly caused by cli

      • by Njovich ( 553857 )

        As I asked in the comment, please read up instead of giving wildly incorrect speculation based on your gut feeling. There are very good reasons I used that wording. If you believe that you know better than the scientists that spend their lives studying these issues, without even reading up on the reasoning, then you are no better than Trump who similarly denies valid research because it doesn't fit his narrative.

  • I wonder how epic of a splash that's gonna make? I'll have to invest in a surfboard so that I can travel the world. Assuming, of course, that this doesn't cause a ginormous tsunami that wipes out all the coastal areas in the southern hemisphere.

  • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @04:05PM (#53820989)
    Everyone is always so down on Global Warming. Why doesn't anyone ever look on the bright side of things? After all, once the icecaps and glaciers all melt, think of how much better the world will be:

    1) Florida will be completely underwater. Not just Miami, but the "Florida Man" parts too.
    2) So will large chunks of the Middle East (though admittedly they'll probably be a bit more worried about the heat than that).
    3) Lots of currently undervalued inland property will become valuable beachfront areas. And without having to fire nuclear missiles at the San Andreas a la Superman!
    4) Huge swathes of inhospitably cold Canadian land will be sunny, warm, and liveable, which will be good news for those of us fleeing the future American hellscape.
    5) Make the Great Lakes Great Again - there will be a new Great Lake, right about where Montreal currently is. (French Canadians underwater? Bonus!)

    Sure, there will be some downsides. The Netherlands will wind up completely underwater, though I'm sure they can build a wall to keep the North Sea out, since they've been doing it for decades already. Install some tidal power generation, and they can even make the North Sea pay for it, too!
    • 4) Huge swathes of inhospitably cold Canadian land will be sunny, warm, and liveable swamps.

      FTFY.

    • The Netherlands will wind up completely underwater,

      A whole lot of it already is. Netherlands has been completely preparing for the worst possible scenarios of global warming.

      • Preparing for the worst possible scenarios is an ongoing process, not a state. As the sea level rises, the risks will have to be recalculated, and the levee systeem upgraded. To make things worse, the land is sinking as well, and even with high levees, salt water can still intrude in the soil from below.
  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @04:24PM (#53821181)
    Phil McCracken!
  • ... north to flood the desert. It's something that has been talked about for decades. Now there's a opportunity!

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @04:48PM (#53821421) Journal

    "Earth changes, sometimes these charges are not great for the seething mass of 7 billion hairless apes that think they're all that. News at 11."

  • Time to invest in that soon to be beach front property...
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @06:36PM (#53822283) Journal

    I spend a lot of time in the ocean and this summer it has been following the trend started in 2010 of being really cold when outside temps are 42C.

    I know people are about to say that it's because I'm getting older and more sensitive however I spend an average 2 hours body surfing which means, apart from my head, I am fully immersed, treading water the whole time. I've surfed the same break for years usually about 3-5 metres deep and that has always been the same for the last 20 years. I've been in the water during winter too when it is so cold it feels like your skin is burning, so I can tolerate really cold water. My entire body tells me it is wrong for the ocean to feel the way it does now.

    Second thing is bushfires. I few years ago we had bushfires go through *rainforest* and burn the roots of the trees down to about a metre below the soil line. These rainforests have been unburnt for thousands of years and are not adapted to fire as opposed to normal bush, which is adapted to fire. This has nothing to do with my personal experience because soil strata core extracts tell us that is how the rainforest has behaved for a lot longer than we have been around for.

    Some people out there like to use their personal experiences as a way to falsify and invalidate the work being done to warn us that our civilization has to mend it's way.

    My personal experiences tell me something quite different. They tell me the world is changing in a profound way, the work of the climate scientists explain the experiences I've had and news like this makes me wonder what is coming next.

  • by Blythe Bowman ( 4372095 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @08:13PM (#53822819)
    Let the Mad Max world begin! I have the chains and collars ready
  • Problem solved!

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