Delaware-Sized Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica And Dumps Nearly 1 Trillion Tons Of Freshwater In The Ocean
That crack was seen around the globe. Delaware-sized iceberg breaks off AntarcticaPeninsula in July 2017 after weeks of anticipation. Satellite imagery reveals that A68, the lone iceberg, broke up in the Southern Ocean. Researchers believe they have identified the decisive factors that led to the relationship's end.
Alex Huth, a polar scientist at Princeton University, and his colleagues used computer simulations of ocean currents and wind stress in conjunction with observations of the iceberg's drift. The team reported their findings on October 19 in ScienceAdvances. Iceberg A68a, the biggest piece of the original berg that is still around, was caught in a tug-of-war between two ocean currents, which probably broke it up.
There is a new global iceberg, and its magnitude means that Antarctica charts will soon need to be updated. The Larsen-C ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula has just lost a trillion tons of ice.
According to Project Midas, a UK-based research organization committed to studying the ice shelf, its overall area is about 2,240 square miles (roughly the size of the state of Delaware), and its volume, at 40 trillion cubic feet of ice, is twice that of Lake Erie.
No one should blame global warming for this, say the scientists who have predicted its arrival for months. This new iceberg will not contribute to rising sea levels since its ice was already present in the water. But there are worries about what might happen to the rest of the shelf's ice in the long run.
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 in recorded history. We’re going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable.- Martin O’Leary, a glaciologist on the Midas team, said
Although this is a natural phenomenon with no connection to human-caused climate change, it puts the ice shelf in a vulnerable position. Historically, this is the furthest back that the ice front has ever gone. We'll be keeping a close eye out for any further symptoms of instability on the shelf.
Larsen-C, which is over 19 thousand square miles in size, has been pulling away from the shelf since at least 2010. The crack's pace of propagation has increased considerably over the previous five years, from 33 feet per day to more than 120 miles. As of last Friday, the European Space Agency said the last three kilometers until separation was completed.
Impact of massive iceberg that broke off Antarctica
The updated simulations provide speculation on A68a's ultimate demise. The long, thin "finger" at the iceberg's end dragged itself into a powerful, swift current on December 20, 2020. Most of the ice continued to drift away from the flow. Within a few days, the stress rifted the berg, and the finger snapped off and splintered apart. This resulted in Delaware-sized iceberg breaks off Antarctica.
The team claims that shear stress, which is not accounted for in climate predictions, is a previously undiscovered reason for the disintegration of massive icebergs. When bergs melt, large amounts of frigid freshwater may be released to the surface of the Southern Ocean. That could have bad effects on ocean currents and the climate of the whole planet.