A crack in the Antarctic ice another sign of a warming planet


"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".

One of the largest icebergs ever recorded - a massive chunk of frozen water that is roughly the same size as the state of DE and which weighs more than a trillion tons - has broken away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, experts have confirmed using NASA satellites. There it will float free and gradually melt.

Researchers have been monitoring a huge crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, which had left a vast iceberg more than four times the size of London or a quarter the size of Wales "hanging by a thread".

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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. The crack remained dormant for decades, stuck in a section of the ice shelf called a suture zone, an area where glaciers flowing into the ice shelf come together. And since the ice was already floating, the breakup won't raise sea levels in the short term, the project said in a statement.

"When they break up, you just open the flood gates", Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine and a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), told the newspaper. "But we will be watching closely for signs of further changes across the area".

"If Larsen C now starts to retreat significantly and eventually collapses, then we will see another contribution to sea level rise", he added. "It's one of the fastest warming places on Earth". "This warming has driven really profound environmental changes, including the collapse of Larsen A and B", McGrath said. "Still, there are definitely mechanisms by which this rift could be linked to climate change, most notably through warmer ocean waters eating away at the base of the shelf".

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The iceberg, which is now likely to be named A68, broke away at some time between Monday and Wednesday. It's hard because there are not enough measurements available on either the forces acting on the rift or the composition of the ice shelf. Even so the calving event has pushed Larsen C's extent back further than at any other time in history, and the research team believes that this will give them an opportunity to study how the glacier will be affected by rising air and ocean temperatures.

The iceberg, which is roughly the size of the US state of DE or the Indonesian island of Bali, has been close to breaking off for a few months.

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