Icebergs are breaking away from Antarctica faster than previously thought

Adelie penguins on ice. Image: David Barringhaus/Australian Antarctic Division

The breaking away of icebergs in Antarctica is shrinking ice shelves more rapidly than previously thought, according to an international study.

Researchers measured all the icebergs larger than 1 square kilometre breaking off the Antarctic coastline as well as the health of the ice shelves.

They found that despite the growth of a few larger ice shelves, many smaller ones are melting from the bottom where the ice meets the ocean as well as shedding icebergs more frequently.

The findings of the research suggests that iceberg calving may be more sensitive to ocean effects than previously thought, according to the authors.

The research by scientists at the College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, is published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

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