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

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 Now in its tenth year in the Arctic, Operation IceBridge is an airborne mission flown annually over both polar regions using various instruments to measure the changes to the ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice. National Geographic, "Mysterious Arctic Ice Holes Baffle Scientists," 23 Apr. 2018 Despite the small size of the Antarctic Peninsula, the destabilizing breakup of ice shelves like the Larsen B has driven loss there at an average rate of 20 ± 15 gigatons per year. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Latest estimate shows how much Antarctic ice has fallen into the sea," 13 June 2018 Most ice was being lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, where warmer ocean water is melting floating ice shelves at the end of glaciers, allowing ice pent up on land to slide faster toward the sea, the study said. Author: Alister Doyle, Anchorage Daily News, "Antarctica’s ice melt is increasing rapidly, study finds, threatening coastal communities worldwide," 13 June 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


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ice sheet

ice shelf


ice show


Statistics for ice shelf

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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The first known use of ice shelf was in 1869

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