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RE: Antarctica
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An ice bridge linking a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands in Antarctica has snapped.
Scientists say the collapse could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is on the brink of breaking away, and provides further evidence of rapid change in the region.

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Wilkins Ice Shelf
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The Wilkins Ice Shelf is at risk of partly breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula as the ice bridge that connects it to Charcot and Latady Islands looks set to collapse. The beginning of what appears to be the demise of the ice bridge began this week when new rifts forming along its centre axis resulted in a large block of ice breaking away.
The Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) images acquired on 2 April by ESA's Envisat satellite confirm that the rifts are quickly expanding along the ice bridge.

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Gamburtsev subglacial mountains
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The mission to uncover secrets of the enigmatic Gamburtsev subglacial mountains has been accomplished, with the first glimpse of a landscape buried under up to 4km of ice revealed.
The Antarctica's Gamburstev Province (AGAP) project - one of the most ambitious, challenging and adventurous 'deep field' Antarctic missions of the International Polar Year - has captured the first clear picture of the mysterious mountain range discovered by Russian scientists 50 years ago. The Gamburtsev subglacial mountains are thought to be the birthplace of the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet that covers 10 million km² of our planet.


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Gamburtsevs
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Scientists have completed their mission to map one of the most extraordinary mountain ranges on Earth.
The Gamburtsevs are a set of peaks equal in size to the European Alps, but they are hidden deep under the ice in the middle of the Antarctic continent.
The survey data gathered by the multi-national team working in harsh, sub-zero temperatures will help resolve the mystery of why the range exists at all.

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ANDRILL programme
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More than 50 top international polar scientists will meet at Victoria University of Wellington this week to discuss their cutting-edge climate change research.
The focus will be establishing models that explain how Antarcticas ice sheets have behaved in Earths recent past and explore how they may change in the future.
For several years, scientists from Italy, Germany, New Zealand and the United States have been studying a 1300 metre-long rock core recovered by the multinational ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing) programme from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

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Wilkins Ice Shelf
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A huge Antarctic ice shelf is on the brink of collapse with just a sliver of ice holding it in place, the latest victim of global warming that is altering maps of the frozen continent.

"We've come to the Wilkins Ice Shelf to see its final death throes" - David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The flat-topped shelf has an area of thousands of square kilometres, jutting 20 metres  out of the sea off the Antarctic Peninsula.
But it is held together only by an ever-thinning 40-km strip of ice that has eroded to an hour-glass shape just 500 metres wide at its narrowest.
In 1950, the strip was almost 100 km wide.

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Pine Island Glacier
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The 30 trillion litres of the Pine Island Glacier are melting far faster than the rest of the western Antarctic. Now a British team are sending a robot submarine under the ice to discover precisely why
With the possible exception of the ice that covers Greenland, the West Antarctic ice shelf is the most important body of water in the world. If it thaws, the results will be disastrous for millions, raising sea levels and flooding coastal cities such as London, New York, Tokyo and Calcutta. So it is understandable that scientists are alarmed as to why one particular section of it - Pine Island Glacier - is melting so much faster than the rest.

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Wilkins Ice Shelf
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Wilkins Ice Shelf from 26 November to 11 December
HI-RES GIF (Size: 17 651 kb)
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.

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New rifts have developed on the Wilkins Ice Shelf that could lead to the opening of the ice bridge that has been preventing the ice shelf from disintegrating and breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula.
 The ice bridge connects the Wilkins Ice Shelf to two islands, Charcot and Latady. As seen in the Envisat image above acquired on 26 November 2008, new rifts (denoted by colourful lines and dates of the events) have formed to the east of Latady Island and appear to be moving in a northerly direction.
Dr Angelika Humbert from the Institute of Geophysics, Münster University, and Dr Matthias Braun from the Center for Remote Sensing, University of Bonn, spotted the newly formed rifts during their daily monitoring activities of the ice sheet via Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) acquisitions.

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Gamburtsev Mountains
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Mystery deepens over unseen Antarctic "Alps"
The existence of a massive Antarctic mountain range buried under miles of ice has become an even deeper mystery, a new study says.
The little-researched Gamburtsev Mountains seem to challenge geologic patterns seen in other mountain ranges on Earth.
For one, the range is situated in the middle of the continent instead of on the edgeat the plate-tectonic boundarieslike most other mountains.
The range's high peaks reach an elevation of about 10,000 feet (more than 3,000 meters)heights typical of relatively young mountain ranges, such as the spiky Rockies and the European Alps.

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