Scambos said the poles will be the leading edge of what’s happening in the rest of the world as global warming continues.
“Even though they seem far away, changes in the polar regions could have an impact on both hemispheres, with sea level rise and changes in climate patterns,” he said.
News of the Wilkins ice shelf’s impending breakup came less than two weeks after the United Nations Environment Program reported that the world’s glaciers are melting away and that they show “record” losses.
“Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled,” the UNEP said March 16.
The most severe glacial shrinking occurred in Europe, with Norway’s Breidalblikkbrea glacier, UNEP said. That glacier thinned by about 10 feet in 2006, compared with less than a foot the year before, it said.