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The climate of the future

Play and read the Newsflash below, then pick out ten key words that summarise the main points.

“In 2002, the Larsen B ice shelf broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula. Five hundred billion tonnes of ice floated off into the sea, breaking up into thousands of vast icebergs. This collapse dumped more ice into the Southern Ocean than all the icebergs over the previous fifty years put together. Elsewhere, satellite images have revealed that the West Antarctic ice sheet is thinning and may even collapse in the future.

Many scientists believe that the thinning ice is a sign of global warming. In the last fifty years the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 2.50°C, faster than anywhere else on Earth, and temperatures are now at their highest for 1,800 years.

The collapse of ice shelves like Larsen B may have a knock-on effect on the glaciers that flow from Antarctica’s ice sheets. A team working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) studied hundreds of aerial and satellite images of the Antarctic Peninsula dating back to the 1940s. In 2005 BAS scientist Alison Cook said, ‘on average, the glaciers we studied retreated fifty metres a year in the last five years, faster than at any other time in the last fifty years. What we still need to determine is whether or not the warming in this area has its roots in human-influenced global warming’.

Scientists are very worried at how quickly this has happened, and some say it is a wake-up call to the world to do something.”

The Larsen B ice shelf
The Larsen B ice shelf
Rift in Larsen B
Rift in Larsen B

Activity

  • Pick out ten key words or phrases from the newsflash that sum up the main messages.
  • Compare your words or phrases to your neighbour – did you come up with similar ones?
  • Download the information sheet ‘Warning signs‘ to find out more

Warning signs of climate change

Areas in UK where rising sea levels could have a significant impact
A whole city flooded in Thailand
The Thames flood barrier.