Giant iceberg breaks off Antarctica

Diti Roterat  Wikipedia

Diti Roterat Wikipedia

"These icebergs don't usually take a straightforward course out of Antarctica they crash into the coast which can cause problems for wildlife, penguin colonies and so on". If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C were to spill into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches), previous research has shown.

One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from Antarctica. There it will float free and gradually melt.

Wondering what the recent collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf might mean for travel to Antarctica?

President Trump, in Paris on Bastille Day at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, surprised many when he suggested he might change course on his decision to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement.

Ice shelves fringe 75 percent of the Antarctic ice sheet. "Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters", Luckman added.

A section of an iceberg - about 6,000 sq km - broke away as part of the natural cycle of iceberg calving off the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica in this satellite image released by the European Space Agency on July 12, 2017. Since the iceberg was already floating, the calving will not cause any change in sea levels.

Scientists had been monitoring the condition of the Larsen C ice shelf for years, and particularly since January. The calving of the massive new iceberg was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite, and confirmed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite. "Yes, the Larsen C will have retreated farther west than we've ever known it to have retreated before", Shuman said. "This warming has driven really profound environmental changes, including the collapse of Larsen A and B", McGrath said.

Was climate change a factor, and what happens to the region now? Ice shelves, interacting with the dynamic atmospheric and ocean systems, are one element of the larger, complex climate system. Still, this event has provided an important opportunity for researchers to study how ice shelves fracture, with important implications for other ice shelves.

According to an ESA statement, ocean currents could drag the iceberg, or pieces of it, as far north as the Falkland Islands, posing a hazard for ships in the Drake Passage.

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