ice shelf


Definition of ice shelf 

: shelf ice In 2002, a Rhode Island-size section of an ice shelf crumbled into the sea.— Joe McGowan

Examples of ice shelf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Antarctica's largest ice shelf, the Ross Shelf is named after James Clark Ross, a British explorer famed for his expedition to the continent in the 19th century. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Antarctic Wind Creates a Dramatic Humming Noise On The Ross Ice Shelf," 17 Oct. 2018 And then the really tough place to make measurements is underneath the floating ice shelf, underneath this thick plate of ice. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Antarctic Quest Seeks to Predict the Fate of a Linchpin Glacier," 14 May 2018 Scientists also hope to learn whether the ice shelf has melted in the past due to other climate shifts. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "The Ross Ice Shelf is Freezing, Not Melting. Which Is Weird.," 23 Feb. 2018 At the grounding line, the ice detaches from the bedrock and juts out into the water as a kind of floating ledge, or ice shelf, which helps to stabilize the glacier and hold back the flow of ice behind it. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Antarctic Glaciers Lost Stunning Amount of Ground in Recent Years," 4 Apr. 2018 Under continued high emissions, one of the most serious consequences by 2070 is that the floating ice shelves around the edge of Antarctica will have started to thin and weaken and break up. Sarah Cahlan /, NBC News, "Antarctica is melting faster than we knew. Here's what it will take to save it.," 19 June 2018 These ice shelves are responsible for stabilizing the glacier and hold back the flood of ice behind them. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "New Maps Show How Greenland’s Ice Sheet Is Melting from the Bottom Up," 6 Nov. 2017 In one version, global warming has continued unchecked, leaving Antarctica and the Southern Ocean with a dramatic loss of ice shelves and an accompanying acceleration in global sea levels. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Antarctic Ice Loss Has Tripled Over the Past Decade," 14 June 2018 Like other Antarctic glaciers Thwaites flows toward the sea—and once there its ice begins to float, forming what is called an ice shelf. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Antarctic Quest Seeks to Predict the Fate of a Linchpin Glacier," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ice shelf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ice shelf

1869, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near ice shelf


ice shed

ice sheet

ice shelf


ice show


Statistics for ice shelf

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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The first known use of ice shelf was in 1869

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