Climate change did not unleash giant Antarctic iceberg, scientists say


There is a new iceberg off the coast of Antarctica. The 600-square-mile iceberg broke off Sunday from the nearly 500-foot-thick Brent Ice Shelf during a particularly high tide known as a spring tide, according to a news release from Britain. is known to Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The calving event is “part of the natural behavior of the Burnt Ice Shelf” and “is not linked to climate change,” BAS glaciologist Dominic Hodgson said in the news release.

Drone video taken Jan. 22 shows a large crack where a 598-square-foot iceberg broke off from the Burnt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. (Video: British Antarctic Survey via Storyfill)

Satellite imagery captured the break, which occurred about 10 years after satellite monitoring detected the growth of a previously inactive crack in the ice known as Chasm-1, and a slightly smaller iceberg called A74. About two years after the ice shelf broke away. A trench is a crack in an ice shelf that extends below the surface into the ocean, while an ice shelf is a floating piece of ice that extends from glaciers that form on land.

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Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, wrote in an email that while the iceberg is “a huge mass of ice, about 500 billion tons … it is not the largest iceberg ever seen.” , which competes with Long. Island.”

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The event is not expected to affect BAS’ Halley research station, which was moved further inland in 2016 as a precaution after Chasm-1 grew.

However, “the new fracture puts the base about 10 miles offshore, and new cracking could occur in the next few years, forcing another costly move of the station,” Scambos wrote. The new iceberg is expected to follow the course of A74 in the Weddell Sea and will be named the US National Ice Center.

Unlike some past icebergs and collapsed ice shelves that have been linked to climate change, the BAS press release said the break is a “natural process” and “there is no evidence that climate change has played a significant role. “

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When scientists tagged a curious seal, it led them to signs of possible climate catastrophe.

Rather, the chasm began to widen “due to pressure building up due to the natural growth of the ice shelf,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a glaciology researcher at Northumbria University, in a 2019 BBC story.

Scambos compares an iceberg calf to a chisel on a wooden plank. “The chisel in this case was a small island known as the ‘Macdonald Ice Rise,'” Scambos wrote. “The ice was driven against this rocky seamount by the ice flow, which forced it to rupture and eventually break up the floating ice shelf.”

“These huge iceberg calves, sometimes as big as a small state, are spectacular. But they’re only part of how the Antarctic ice sheet works,” Scambos said. “Most of the time they have nothing to do with climate change.”


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