Delaware-Sized Iceberg Is Now Ready To Break Off Antarctica

In the imminent future, one of the world’s biggest icebergs, the Larsen C ice shelf, an extension of the West Antarctic ice sheet, is inching closer to detachment and collapse into the ocean, having an adverse impact on the region and on sea levels around the world. Only three miles of ice is now keeping the massive iceberg attached to the Larsen C ice shelf.Scientists still don’t know when the iceberg will break away – it could be hours, days or weeks.Scientists remain divided as to what really causes this massive event: some call it a natural occurrence that’s typical of many ice shelves, while others contend that it’s the handiwork of climate change.When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.How big is the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf? In 1995, collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf near the northern tip of the Antarctic was reported. Further updates will be available on this blog, and on our Twitter feed. According to the latest report from the European Space Agency, the ice shelf is now being held in place by only 3 miles of ice, meaning it could break away at any moment.”Using information from CryoSat, we have mapped the elevation of the ice above the ocean and worked out that the eventual iceberg will be about 190 m (623 ft) thick and contain about 1,155 km3 (277 cu mi) of ice”, says Noel Gourmelen, a researcher on the project.However, the calving will not affect global sea level on its own, because the ice breaking off was already floating in the ocean.”We do not need to press the panic button for Larsen C, Fricker, a professor at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, wrote”. That’s the size of four Londons or more than seven New York Citys. Eric Rignot, an Antarctica expert for NASA and the University of California, Irvine, said, “Of course this is due to climate warming in the peninsula” in an email to the Washington Post.The iceberg will be approximately 690 feet below the water’s surface and its volume is comparable to that of Lake Michigan. The deeper ice the Larsen C had once shielded is expected to become vulnerable to melting and disintegration, especially with rising temperatures. “New Sentinel-1 data today continues to show the rift opening more rapidly”.”We have also estimated that the depth below sea level could be as much as 210 m”.Where will the iceberg go after breaking off?What’s more, while 76 percent of Americans believe that it is “very likely” or “fairly likely” that rising sea levels are due to climate change, 23 percent of Americans say that’s not likely or don’t believe it, according to a survey a year ago by the Pew Center on Research.