Off the shelf


According to the British Antarctic Survey, this is a picture of an ice shelf in Antarctica that has been around for “hundreds, maybe 1,500 years.” It apparently broke off or collapsed within the last few weeks. Some scientists say it’s because of global warming.

Here’s a higher resolution photo. And here’s another. Unfortunately, it’s awfully difficult to figure out what scale we’re looking at here. I can’t tell whether these were taken from a mile up or by someone standing on the ice. However, an intriguing video posted along with a press release (as of Tuesday evening the site had crashed) suggests the ice shelf was about the height (above the water) of a warehouse.

It’s an event we don’t get to see very often,” Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. told the Los Angeles Times. “The cracks fill with water and slice off and topple… That gets to be a runaway situation.”

As for what it all means, well, let the debate begin.