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 Importante bancada de gelo Antártica a quebrar-se infographic
A infografia mostra a escala do recuo da bancada de gelo do glaciar de Pine Island, explicando como ocorre.


Glaciar de Pine Island sob crescente ameaça de colapso

By Ninian Carter

June 15, 2021 - O glaciar de Pine Island está cada vez mais vulnerável, já que uma ampla bancada de gelo que o impede de colapsar no mar está a partir-se mais depressa do que observado anteriormente, criando grandes icebergues.

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier ice shelf loss has been accelerating since 2017, giving scientists cause to worry that climate change means the glacier could collapse hundreds of years earlier than predicted.

The fast moving glacier is composed of 160 trillion tonnes of ice – equivalent to half-a-metre of sea level rise – responsible for about 25% of the continent’s ice loss.

The ice shelf is important because it acts like a cork, blocking Pine Island Glacier (a much larger ice mass that lies behind it) from rapidly flowing into the ocean and melting.

For there to be an harmonious balance, the amount of ice melting should equal the amount of snow falling and forming ice in the region. If the glacier is allowed to enter the sea and thaw uninhibited, the scales will tip and global sea levels will rise.

The Pine Island Glacier ice shelf retreated more than 26km from 2015 to 2020, according to a research paper published in Science Advances. Lead author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist from the University of Washington, believes it’s not inconceivable that the whole shelf gives way within a few years.

Reports such as these highlight the vulnerability of Antarctica, a major reservoir for potential sea level rise, and illustrates just how important it is for humankind to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

PUBLISHED: 16/06/2021; STORY: Graphic News