Or nearly does, at least. It seems that the Wilkins ice shelf is hanging by a thread and bits are falling off. You’ll have to forgive me for being late with this news, as I’ve been off in the Real World for a week or so, with only intermittent internet connections. The paper world seems to have ignored the story, which will have annoyed BAS’s PR department. But there isn’t all that much to it.
The Antarctic peninsula is warming, and we know that because we have thermometers that tell us so. Having ice shelves break off every now and again provides good visual appeal.
As BAS says in 1993 [DV] predicted that the northern part of Wilkins Ice Shelf was likely to be lost within 30 years if climate warming on the Peninsula were to continue at the same rate and, yes, the prediction has come true. There seems to be some attempt to spin this as happening much faster than expected… over at CSM the same DV is saying we got the time scales completely wrong. We were saying 30 years at that time, and now it’s happened within 15. To my mind, if you way “within 30″ and it happens in 15, you got it right.
So I guess the problem is that there isn’t too much new here. Its another ice shelf (and who can tell them apart) falling apart, pretty well as expected, and it isn’t going to raise sea level. Errrm, yes. It is of course entirely consistent with global warming, but not a very good measure of it. A better measure, Antarctic wide, would probably be the sea ice extent, and that isn’t being very obliging at the moment.