Just last week, scientists announced that a trillion-ton iceberg was set to break from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. Researchers from the MIDAS Project in Wales have been monitoring the rift via satellite, which confirmed that it has now broken off. The European Space Agency followed with their confirmation. This massive iceberg is close to the size of Delaware. It is one of the largest ever recorded to split from the continent.
Larsen C Ice Shelf Might Destabilize
While the iceberg poses no real threat to the rising of sea levels as it will remain mostly afloat, the researchers at Project MIDAS are concerned with the fact that the Larsen C ice shelf might shrink by 12%. This might destabilize the ice shelf, which is Antarctica’s largest. However, researchers cannot yet predict what exactly the iceberg might provoke. Adrian Luckman, lead researcher at the MIDAS Project stated:
“It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters.”
The iceberg doesn’t seem to be posing a threat to the shipping routes close to the Antarctic Peninsula. However, the break comes in a series of collapses suffered by Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves. While calving icebergs is a natural phenomenon, the southern route the rifts have taken only add to the debate on climate change.
If the ice shelves continue breaking down the southern ridge of Antarctica, then there is a true concern over the rising sea levels. Warm ocean currents could erode or thin the ice shelves, causing them to break further apart. There might be a different combination of elements that affect Antarctica compared to other areas susceptible to climate change. So, at the moment, it is still unclear what causes the changes in the region.
Image Source: Commons Wikimedia
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