A sad day and a bad omen of what is to come as Climate Change increases in ferocity. AS the NY Times Editorial Board commented, Warnings From Antarctica;
Talk to scientists who have worked in the Arctic, Antarctic or the world’s glacial zones for decades, and what they keep coming back to is that they have witnessed monumental physical changes in these once-frozen regions within their professional lifetimes.
Few climate scientists doubt that within a decade or two the cap of ice that has covered the Arctic Ocean for tens of thousands of years, acting as a giant planetary air conditioner, will largely disappear in summer, replaced by heat-absorbing open ocean. One more physical feature that has characterized our planet for ages will have vanished in a matter of decades.
Greenland’s ice sheet, the planet’s second largest after Antarctica, is melting at an alarming rate, losing an estimated 90 cubic miles of ice a year. The melt water that ends up in the ocean is raising sea levels. And then there are the countless glaciers in the Alps, Andes, Himalayas, Rockies and Tibetan Plateau, all melting as our unceasing carbon dioxide emissions — a staggering 35 to 40 billion tons a year — trap more and more heat....
While the destabilization of the Larsen C Ice Shelf is certainly worrying, it pales in comparison with the threat from the increasing instability of the glaciers and ice shelves holding back the enormous West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If much of that ice sheet thaws and slides into the sea this century or next, global sea levels could rise by up to 17 feet.