Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica is the largest known ice shelf in the world and a part of the largest ice masses on Earth, which contains 70% of the world's freshwater.
It has its name when the British naval officer and explorer James Clark Ross reached it in 1841 in one of the discoveries to the Arctic Ocean, well described as dangerous adventure and heroic discovery.
The following brief is about Ross Ice Shelf and some of the exploration attempts to reach the top point of the mysterious barrier.
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The area the Ice Shelf occupies in the world map north of the planet was yet virgin despite Ross' discovery and no one knows it well as an ice barrier.
However, people acquired more information about the area at the time when the explorers Robert F. Scott and Roald Amundsen raced in legendary discoveries to the Arctic Ocean in 1911.
They began the risky game of discovery and competition to reach the South Pole from different ends of the Ross Ice Shelf glacier edge. Amundsen wrote about the adventure and his feelings the first time he saw the huge ice in his book "South Pole" and called it "the mystic barrier!"
Although it is connected to the Antarctica, the Ross Ice Shelf floats on the sea. It covers 487,000 square kilometres, occupying an area almost the same large as France. The front sea facing side is almost 600 kilometres long and the vertical face rises up to 15 and 50 meters high.
Only 10% of the ice shelf is visible above the water, and where it becomes thickest, it goes down several hundred meters below sea level. Over the past 50 years, the average temperature at the west coast of Antarctica has increased by almost 3º C. It is about ten times the average for the entire planet.
It is expected that the temperature in and above the sea around the Antarctic will rise again during the next century and this event could collapse the Ross Ice Shelf and break away from the continent.
In turn, this will raise the sea levels dramatically in the entire world and result in more melting ice on the Antarctic.
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