The Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, also known as Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf,
is an Antarctic ice shelf bordering the Weddell Sea.
3 See also
5 External links
The seaward side of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf is divided into
Eastern (Filchner) 79°00′S 40°00′W / 79.000°S
40.000°W / -79.000; -40.000 and the larger Western (Ronne)
78°30′S 61°00′W / 78.500°S 61.000°W / -78.500;
-61.000 sections by Berkner Island. The whole ice shelf covers some
430,000 km², making it the second largest ice shelf in
Antarctica, after the Ross Ice Shelf. It grows perpetually due to a
flow of inland ice sheets. From time to time, when the shearing
stresses exceed the strength of the ice, cracks form and large parts
of the ice sheet separate from the ice shelf and continue as icebergs.
This is known as calving.
The Ronne ice shelf is the larger and western part of the
Filchner-Ronne ice shelf. It is bounded on the west by the base of the
Antarctic Peninsula (
Graham Land with
Zumberge Coast and Orville
Coast) and Ellsworth Land. Commander Finn Ronne, USNR, leader of the
Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition (RARE) in 1947-48, discovered and
photographed a strip along the entire northern portion of this ice
shelf in two aircraft flights in November and December 1947. He named
it the "Lassiter Shelf Ice" and gave the name "
Edith Ronne Land" to
the land presumed to lie south of it. In 1957-58, the US-IGY party at
Ellsworth Station, under now Captain Ronne, determined that the ice
shelf was larger than previously charted, that it extends southward to
preempt most of "
Edith Ronne Land". Inasmuch as Capt. James Lassiter's
name has been assigned to a coast of Palmer Land, the Advisory
Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) approved the name Ronne Ice
Shelf for this large ice shelf, on the basis of first sighting and
exploration of the ice shelf by Ronne and parties under his
leadership. The shelf is therefore named for Edith Ronne, the wife of
Finn Ronne and RARE Expedition member.
The Filchner ice shelf is the eastern part of the Filchner-Ronne ice
shelf. It is bounded on the west by
Berkner Island and on the east by
Coats Land. The east part of this shelf was discovered in
January–February 1912 by the German Antarctic Expedition under
Wilhelm Filchner. Filchner named the feature for Kaiser Wilhelm, but
the Emperor requested it be named for its discoverer. The shelf is
nourished primarily by the Slessor Glacier, the Recovery Glacier, and
the Support Force Glacier, all located east of Berkner Island.
In October 1998, the iceberg A-38 broke off the Filchner-Ronne ice
shelf. It had a size of roughly 150 by 50 km and was thus larger
than Delaware. It later broke up into three parts. A similar-sized
calving in May 2000 created an iceberg 167 by 32 km in extent,
dubbed A-43 - the disintegration of this is thought to have been
responsible for the November 2006 sighting of several large icebergs
from the coast of the
South Island of New Zealand, the first time that
any icebergs had been observed from the
New Zealand mainland since
1931. A large group of small icebergs (the largest some 1000 metres in
length), were seen off the southeast coast of the island, with one of
them drifting close enough to shore to be visible from the hills above
the city of Dunedin. If these were indeed the remnants of this
calving, then over the course of five and a half years they had
travelled slowly north and also east around over half the globe, a
journey of some 13,500 km.
From January 12 and January 13, 2010, an area of sea ice larger than
the state of
Rhode Island broke away from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf
and shattered into many smaller pieces. The Moderate-Resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua and Terra
satellites captured this event in this series of photo-like images.
The ice of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf can be as thick as 600 m;
the water below is about 1400 m deep at the deepest point.
The international Filchner-
Ronne Ice Shelf
Ronne Ice Shelf Programme (FRISP) was
initiated in 1973 to study the ice shelf.
A study published in Nature in 2012 by scientists from the Alfred
Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, and funded
Ice2Sea initiative, predicts the disappearance of the
450,000 km2 (170,000 sq mi) vast ice shelf in
Antarctica by the end of the century which could - indirectly - add up
to 4.4 mm (0.17 in) of rise of sea level each year.
Belgrano I Base
^ NIWA report, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
^ Rapid Sea Ice Breakup along the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf
^ 6.2.1. Filchner-
Ronne Ice Shelf
Ronne Ice Shelf Programme. WAIS: The West Antarctic
Ice Sheet Initiative.
^ Reuters (9 May 2012). "New Antarctic Ice Shelf Threatened by
Warming". Scientific American. Retrieved 5 Jan 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ice shelf.
"Satellite image/map of Ronne (W)". National Snow and Ice Data Center.
2002-12-03. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
"Satellite image/map of Filchner (E)". National Snow and Ice Data
Center. 2002-12-03. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
Big Antarctic ice sheet appears doomed; Warming climate predicted to
trigger collapse of Filchner-Ronne shelf by 2100 June 2nd, 2012;
Vol.181 #11 (p. 5) Science News.
Coordinates: 77°51′33″S 61°17′57″W / 77.85917°S
61.29917°W / -77.85917; -61.29917 This article
incorporates public domain material from the United States
Geological Survey document "Filchner Ice Shelf" (content from the
Geographic Names Information System).