The Larsen C Crack-Up in Antarctica: Why It Matters - Rolling Stone
when it breaks off and eventually melts, it won’t contribute much to sea-level rise, just as ice in a glass of water doesn’t raise the level as it melts. The land-based glaciers behind the ice shelf are of more concern – ice shelves work as buttresses, holding glaciers back from falling into the sea – but in the case of the Larsen C, they are not that big, and so even if they do speed up and begin sliding into the sea, the impact on sea levels will not be large. It’s also not even clear that the break-up of the Larsen C is related to climate change – ice shelves grow and collapse all the time. It is part of the natural rhythm of an ice sheet’s growth and evolution.
But that doesn’t mean that the crack-up of the Larsen C is inconsequential. If you are concerned about how the rapid warming of the climate can drive changes that will alter the planet as we know it, submerging billions of dollars of real estate and infrastructure and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees, then Antarctica is one of the scariest places on the planet.