Quote of the Day
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
I just read an article about a large iceberg that will likely form in 2017 when a 5,000 km2 section of the Larsen C ice shelf (Figure 1) calves into the Antarctic Ocean. There is concern that the formation of this iceberg will remove a barrier that has been preventing the entire Larsen C ice shelf, with a total area of over 50,000 km2, from sliding into the sea. This is a massive amount of ice.
According to this article, if the land-based portion of the Larsen C ice shelf slides into the sea, sea level would rise by 10 cm. Let's try to approximate this calculation. Figure 2 shows a map of the ice thickness.
It looks like most of the ice sheet is about 650 m to 750 m thick. I will assume the average ice thickness is 700 m, which we can use to estimate the sea level rise as shown in Figure 3. I get 9 cm of sea level rise, which is close enough for a rough estimate like this.
Figure 3 shows a giant rift forming along the edge of the Larsen C ice sheet, which is expected to calve off this year. The iceberg formed is expected to be one of the ten largest ever recorded.