Antarctic Shelf Rapidly Collapsing

While cause of rapid warming may not be linked to global warming, many experts said it was getting harder to find any other explanation.

Published: 20-Mar-2002

A Rhode Island-size piece of the floating ice fringe along a fast-warming region of Antarctica has disintegrated with extraordinary rapidity, scientists said yesterday.

The loss of floating ice does not contribute to rising sea levels, just as melting ice cubes floating in a glass do not cause it to overflow. But the researchers said this was the first time in thousands of years that this part of Antarctica the east coast of its arm-shaped peninsula had seen so much ice erode and temperatures rise so much.

While it is too soon to say whether the changes there are related to a buildup of the "greenhouse" gas emissions that scientists believe are warming the planet, many experts said it was getting harder to find any other explanation.

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