Antarctic ice sheet almost the size of São Paulo falls into the sea

The Conger Layer, an Antarctic ice sheet that is comparatively nearly the size of the state of São Paulo, has fallen overboard, according to satellite images released by NASA in a gif on Twitter last Thursday (24). The Conger layer has 1,200 square kilometers (km²), while São Paulo has just over 1,500 km².

The large layers of ice in the coldest regions of the Earth are essential for damming the flow of ice from the continent into the sea. Without them, the ice that comes from the continental masses that form Antarctica, to the south; and the North Pole, spills into adjacent waters, raising sea levels.

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Originally, the animated image was shared by Catherine Colello Walker, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography, revealing that the episode took place between March 14 and 16, 2022. The layer began to slowly regress, and two days later then she fell completely.

“The Conger Layer was there and then suddenly it wasn’t there,” Andrew Mackintosh, an expert in climate analysis of polar regions at Australia’s Monash University, told CNET.

It is not today that Antarctica has been facing more extreme climatic situations. The least explored and most isolated continent in the world saw, in mid-March, a temperature rise that took it to minus 11.8 degrees Celsius (-11.8º C) – about 30 degrees above the average for this time of year. year. This was caused by a current of hot air that, it is not yet known, may or may not be responsible for Conger’s collapse.

That was the increase of almost 20º C raised by the United Nations (UN) in July last year.

The human presence in the region is more concentrated on the west side, as this is a portion of land more accessible to human settlements. Typically, this is done by climate research centers that, by themselves, already cause a relative increase in average temperature, but tourist activity to Antarctica has also contributed greatly to the temperature increase in the region – an increase that causes “tons” of melting. of ice, according to studies. And that also creates a problem known as “black carbon” — basically, dark dust and smog that absorbs sunlight instead of reflecting it, amplifying polar melt.

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