The Antarctic ice cap contains about 90% of the planet’s fresh water and
the continental ice sheet contains approximately 7 million cubic miles (30 million cu km) of ice, representing
about 90% of the world's total. Ice flowing off of the continent creates several floating ice shelves where the flowing ice meets the ocean.
Ice shelves act to hold back glaciers from the sea and keep warmer marine air at a distance from
Antarctic Ice streams are vast rivers of ice that flow up to 100 times faster than
the ice they channel through, with speeds up to 3000 feet per year. They are the most energetic parts of the
Antarctic ice sheet, and scientists believe that they are quite susceptible to environmental change. Ice streams
also transport most of the snow that falls on the continent's interior and dump it into the ocean.
Ice shelves produce the largest icebergs (called tabular as they are table-like, flat, on top) as the ice is gently fed
onto the surface of the sea before eventually breaking off and becoming free floating.