'Webcam' from Space: Envisat observing Wilkins Ice Shelf

Dec 12, 2008
Envisat's Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) acquisitions of Wilkins Ice Shelf from 26 November to 11 December 2008. Credits: ESA

In light of recent developments that threaten to lead to the break-up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, ESA is making daily satellite images of the ice shelf available to the public via the 'Webcam' from Space web page in order to monitor the developments as they occur.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a broad plate of floating ice off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, has undergone many changes in 2008. Due to the warming in the Antarctic spring (late November), newly formed rifts were discovered that scientists predict could lead to the opening of the ice bridge that connects the ice shelf to two islands, Charcot and Latady.

If the ice bridge were to open, it could put the entire ice shelf at risk of disintegrating.

ESA's Envisat acquires images of the ice shelf daily with its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument. These images are updated automatically on the Wilkins 'Webcam' from Space web page and placed in an animation to allow visitors to spot changes between acquisitions. Individual images can also be viewed in the image archive.

'Webcam' from Space: www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMWZS5DHNF_index_0.html

Source: European Space Agency

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MikeB
1 / 5 (1) Dec 24, 2008
" Due to the warming in the Antarctic spring (late November), newly formed rifts were discovered that scientists predict could lead to the opening of the ice bridge that connects the ice shelf to two islands, Charcot and Latady. If the ice bridge were to open, it could put the entire ice shelf at risk of disintegrating."

OK it's melting because it is spring... so I guess it will melt more in the summer. Now the ice bridge appears to be almost gone, so I bet it will melt. When it melt the rest of the ice sheet is at "risk"??? I thought ice melts and reforms. What is this huge risk, anyway? does someone live on this ice sheet?

Just wondering...