Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

Eloi Lecerf
Julho 12, 2017

After observing a NASA Earth-observing satellite, scientists said the iceberg is thought to have remained intact at 2,200-square miles.

The Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002.

Professor Adrian Luckman, spearheading Project Midas, said: "We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometres of ice". Similar to when ice cubes melt in a glass of water and the water level doesn't rise, the amount of ocean now displaced by the floating iceberg remains unchanged as it melts.

On Wednesday morning, it was found to be split off from the Larsen C section of the Larsen ice shelf.

"Although this is a natural event, and we're not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position", O'Leary said.

One of the largest icebergs on record has broken away from an ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists have announced. The giant iceberg is now adrift in the Weddell Sea, they said.

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"This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history". "However, this kind of behavior is typical of ice shelves all across Antarctica". It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments.

A trillion tonne iceberg has broken away from the Antarctic ice shelf in what has been described by scientists as an event which will change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.

Two nearby, smaller shelves, Larsen A and Larsen B, disintegrated around the turn of the century - warming climate likely played a role in their demise.

The block - measuring more than 200 metres in thickness - will now need to be monitored because it could drift into shipping lanes.

While the iceberg will not have an immediate effect on sea levels, if the ice shelf loses much more of its area, glaciers on land could flow off the land and into the ocean, which could cause eventual sea level rise "at a very modest rate". "It is a possibility, but recent data from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography actually show most of the shelf thickening", he said.

But, there were no satellites to confirm the sighting.

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