WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday.
They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.
Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available at pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2600/B.
"The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing -- more rapidly than previously known -- as a consequence of climate change," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.
The less ice there is at the poles the faster the melting will be. Ice reflects the heat back to the atmosphere. Water sucks up the heat.