An ice bridge linking two Islands in Antarctica has snapped according to scientists. They say this is evidence of rapid change in the region, and that it could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is breaking away.
The ice bridge was an important barrier which held the Wilkins Ice Shelf in place. Without the bridge, Charcot and Latady islands are free to move into the open ocean.
European Space Agency satellite pictures revealed cracks in the bridge last week.
This video shows when the Wilkins Shelf first came under threat of breaking due to the break of the icebridge connecting the Wilkins Shelf to Latady and Charcot
Recently formed icebergs were shown floating into the western side of the peninsula and out to sea.
The peninsula juts up from Antarctica towards the southern tip of South America.
According to a Glaciologist with the British Antarctic Survey who placed a GPS tracker on the ice bridge in January, this breakage has been expected for a few weeks.
He says it was very likely that the ice shelf was to follow.
The breakage is floating and will therefore not affect sea levels directly, it does heighten concerns over the impact of climate change on this peninsula of Antarctica.
Separate research indicates that after ice shelves move, glaciers and landed ice begin to make their way towards the ocean more rapidly. The glaciers and landed ice are the center of an ongoing scientific debate as to whether this movement increases sea levels.