Trillion –Ton icerberg breaks off Antarctica: Here is all you need to know!
A trillion-ton iceberg measuring 5,800 sq. km. has broken away from Antarctica’s 200-600 metre thick Larsen C Ice Shelf. It is the biggest break -offs till date. The calving was happening since July 10, 2017 and the whole section measuring 5,800 meters finally broke away on 12th July making it the biggest one ever recorded in history.
The iceberg is likely to be named A68. Its volume equals to twice that of Lake Erie. The data was collected by NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite and it was later confirmed by NASA’s Suomi VIIRS instrument. It has no immediate effect on sea level as it was already floating before the calving happened. This incident has changed the landscape of Antarctica Peninsula decreasing its size by 12%. The remaining ice shelf will grow naturally.
Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University who is also the lead investigator of the MIDAS project earlier in the day 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. We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg.It may remain in one piece but it is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of iceberg may drift north into warmer waters. The recent development in satellite systems such as Sentinel-1 and MODIS has vastly improved our ability to monitor such events.”
Dr Martin O’Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and member of the MIDAS project team, said, “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. This is the furthest back that the ice front has been recorded in history. We are going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable.”
If the ice shelf loses more of its area than it could result in glaciers that flow off the land might speed up their passage towards the ocean. It will have an impact on the sea level eventually but it will be a modest one.
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