A 62-square-mile chunk of ice has broken off the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the first ever observed to do so in winter. The chunk is a portion of an ice "bridge" between the islands of Charcot and Latady that keeps the rest of the shelf from breaking up.
The bridge was narrowed to a 3.7-mile wide strip of ice in February, when a larger chunk broke off. The latest piece broke at the end of May, reducing the bridge to 1.7 miles wide. If it breaks, thousands of square kilometers of ice will break up.
In the past 50 years, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit. In the past two decades, seven other Antarctic ice shelves have disintegrated or retreated. Scientists believe the Wilkins shelf will soon break up.