Scientists have discovered that global warming and thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica has strengthened warm winds around the Antarctic peninsula, contributing to the break-up of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002.
This is the first direct evidence linking global warming to melting ice shelves. The area of the collapsed shelf was 3,250 square kilometers, bigger than Luxembourg or Rhode Island. The collapse did not raise sea levels because the ice was floating.
However, if warming trends continue, floating ice will disappear and land-based glaciers further south will also melt. In fact, Dr Chris Rapley has revealed that two major glaciers in eastern Antarctica are already starting to discharge into the sea.