An iceberg with a weight of around 1 trillions tons, and four times the size of London—or nearly as large as Delaware—has broken off from Antarctica. It is one of the biggest icebergs on record to ever break off of the icy continent. The Iceberg will “fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.”
The iceberg measures a staggering 5,800 square kilometers has broken away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf on Antarctica. The Iceberg is around 200 meters thick.
It is one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and has a volume twice the size of Lake Erie according to Project MIDAS which has closely been monitoring it. NASA satellite images have confirmed that the crack which has been forming for several years ahs finally broken off.
Dr. Ann Hogg from the University of Leeds says that thermal images have been confirmed by the Sentinel1 satellite.
“It also shows the iceberg hasn’t moved away from the location it was in when it was still attached by this short ice bridge,” she said.
According to reports, the humongous iceberg is going to be dubbed A68. It is a danger for nearby vessels, even though it has still not floated away from its position—most likely because of underwater hills or sea and wind currents. However, that could change in the near future.
Scientists from project MIDAS wrote on their website: “A one trillion ton iceberg—one of the biggest ever recorded—has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.”
USA Today reports that global warming has pushed temperatures up to 5 degrees higher in the region since the 1950s and could increase up to 7 degrees more by the end of the century, putting more stress on the ice, according to Climate Central.
“The calving occurred sometime between Monday 10 July and Wednesday 12 July 2017, when a 5,800km2 section of Larsen C finally broke away. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, weighs more than a trillion tons. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes.”
Luckily, scientists say that the iceberg will not have major effects on global sea levels since it was already floating on the water.
“The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12 per cent, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever,” the scientists said.
“Although the remaining ice shelf will continue naturally to regrow, Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift.”
“There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995.”
And while many experts claim that there isn’t an immediate danger, National Geographic reports that the massive iceberg that broke off the Larsen C Ice Shelf may be a harbinger of a continent-wide collapse that would swamp coastal cities around the world. Sea levels around the world could rise by 14 feet if all of the ice melted just on West Antarctica.
Time to ‘redraw’ he map of the Antarctic Peninsula
Rod Downie, head of polar programs at environmental charity WWF, said: “The sheer scale of this natural calving event is impressive–we will need to redraw the map of the Antarctic Peninsula.”
“And whilst this is Antarctica doing what Antarctica does, it demonstrates just how fragile the Polar Regions are.”
“The polar regions drive our oceans and atmosphere. But West Antarctica has experienced some of the most rapid rates of warming on the planet in recent decades, and that’s not good news for iconic species such as Adélie or emperor penguins.”
“This demonstrates why we need to urgently and globally tackle climate change head on, starting in the UK with the UK Government outlining how we plan to meet our international commitments to reduce carbon emissions.”