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Ross Ice Shelf



  May 29, 2024

Ross Ice Shelf



*Q: What is the Ross Ice Shelf?*
A: The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, roughly the size of France.

*Q: What is happening to the Ross Ice Shelf?*
A: Researchers have found that the Ross Ice Shelf is dislocated daily by an ice stream, caused by a sudden slip in the ice stream.

*Q: What is an ice stream?*
A: Ice streams are like conveyor belts that transport ice and sediment debris from glaciers to the ocean.

*Q: Why is this movement a concern?*
A: This movement could influence icequakes and shelf fractures, raising concerns about ice shelf stability in a warming world.

*Q: What role do ice shelves play in the environment?*
A: Ice shelves act as brakes for glaciers and ice streams, slowing their journey to the sea where they melt, thus allowing more ice to accumulate on the continent.

*Q: What happens if an ice shelf collapses?*
A: If an ice shelf collapses, this support disappears, and the glaciers are free to flow faster, contributing to sea level rise.

*Q: Is this movement related to global warming?*
A: Researchers do not think that these slip events are directly related to human-caused global warming.

*Q: What could be causing the slip events?*
A: One theory is that the loss of water in the bed of the Whillans Ice Stream is making it more "sticky", leading to the slip events.

*Q: Is there a worry about the Ross Ice Shelf disintegrating?*
A: Yes, there is a worry that the Ross Ice Shelf will someday disintegrate, as other smaller and thinner ice shelves have done, which could cause rapid ice loss to the other glaciers and ice streams feeding into it. ‎

 
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