Ice shelf

  • Ross ( 472,960 km ²)
  • Filchner - Ronne ( 422,420 km ²)
  • Amery ( 62,620 km ²)
  • Larsen C ( 48,600 km ²)
  • Riiser -Larsen ( 48,180 km ²)
  • Fimbul ( 41,060 km ²)
  • Shackleton ( 33,820 km ²)
  • George VI ( 23,880 km ²)
  • West ( 16,370 km ²)
  • Wilkins ( 13,680 km ²)

As the ice shelf is called a large sheet of ice floating on the sea and is fixedly connected to a glacier on land. It is characteristic of ice shelf that at the very tip cancel again and again icebergs. This process is called calving.

Glaciers flow downhill slowly. When they reach the coast, breaking the ice does not immediately, but first forms a sheet of ice. There, where the ice shelf pushes the water over rocky shoals, formed usually hills or folds, so-called Ice Rises to prevent such anchor that nachdrängende the ice shelf further and faster also pressed into the lake. At the same time, these anchors but stresses cause the ice, so that the entire structure of the ice shelf is under constant movement.

From ice shelf is when the disk extends at least two feet above the sea level. Usually ice shelf between 200 and 1000 meters thick. On the edge of the ice shelf icebergs break off. Ice shelf is flat and level, therefore, arise by means of tabular icebergs. This is the typical form of icebergs in Antarctica.

The stability and the mass balance of the ice shelf are important for sea level rise. Although the melting of floating ice is only low on the sea level, but dissolve ice shelves from the mainland, so the plastic ice of inland glaciers to flow faster to the ocean. At present it is still unclear whether the advance of the ice shelf edge since 1957 is a normal process or already an effect of global warming.

The largest ice shelves are in Antarctica:

  • Ross Ice Shelf ( 487,000 km ²)
  • Filchner - Ronne Ice Shelf ( 449,000 km ²)

In West Antarctica has been observed since 1995, a reinforced breaking up and melting of the ice shelves, which is at least partly due to the local temperature rise associated with global warming. 2008 and 2009 set off parts of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which previously represented the connection to Charcot Island. Recent photographs of the Wilkins Ice Shelf can be found on the offered by ESA ' Webcam ' from Space (see links).