Science Cafe: Assessing the stability of one of Antarctica's largest ice shelves

The Swansea Science Cafe offers opportunities to find out more about new, exciting and topical areas of science in an informal and entertaining way.

Title: Assessing the stability of one of Antarctica's largest ice shelves

Speaker: Professor Adrian Luckman, Swansea University

Date: Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Admission: Free, all welcome

Larsen C ice shelf In this talk, Professor Luckman, based in the College of Science, will discuss research on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, including experiences of fieldwork and rift monitoring from space which recently has been the subject of global media interest. It will explain the nature and importance of ice shelves, and the implications of the predicted ice loss. Professor Luckman, who is leader of the UK’s Project Midas, will discuss a rapidly extending rift which is poised to calve a massive iceberg from the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. After Project Midas reported that the Larsen C rift was growing quickly last year, Professor Adrian Luckman acquired imagery which showed a further 10 km of rift growth since January 1st, bringing its total length to 175 km.

Now just 20km of ice is keeping the 5,000 sq km piece from floating away. When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.

In his talk Professor Luckman will also explain why the loss of a piece a quarter of the size of Wales will leave the whole shelf vulnerable to future break-up.

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