The Larsen Ice Shelf is a long, fringing ice shelf in the northwest part of the Weddell Sea, extending along the east coast of Antarctic Peninsula from Cape Longing to the area just southward of Hearst Island.
The Larsen Ice Shelf is a series of three shelves that occupy (or occupied) distinct embayments along the coast.
From north to south, the three segments are called Larsen A (the smallest), Larsen B, and Larsen C (the largest) by researchers who work in the area.
The Larsen A ice shelf disintegrated in January of 1995.
The Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated in February of 2002.
The Larsen C ice shelf appears to be stable.
The Larsen disintegration events were unusual.
Typically, ice shelves lose mass by iceberg calving and by melting at their upper and lower surfaces.
The disintegration events are linked to the ongoing climate warming in the Antarctic Peninsula, about 0.5 °C per decade since the late 1940's (possibly a result of global warming).