Henry Páll Wulff
Expedition Guide, Naturalist
Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator
The single biggest mass of ice in the world, containing about 90 percent of the planet's freshwater ice and around 60-70 percent of the total freshwater on earth, covers about 98 percent of the Antarctic continent. But the continent is divided: In East Antarctica, the ice sheet rests on a major landmass, while in West Antarctica the bed can extend to more than 2,500 m below sea level. While the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is relatively stable, scientists claim that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea levels by about 5 meters/16 feet. At the same time, the landmass of Antarctica would rise out of the ocean. Several ice shelves surround especially the western Antarctic. The Ross Ice Shelf - a floating tongue of ice that extends off the continent's main landmass - encompasses more than 510,000 square kilometers and is the largest ice shelf that has ever been discovered. All in all, one can say that the largely unknown seventh continent deep in the south is truly a sheer incredible piece of ice.