Delaware-sized Iceberg Poised to Break Off From Antarctica

Published On:January 10, 2017, 12:51 pm

Delaware-sized Iceberg Poised to Break Off From AntarcticaAn enormous sized iceberg which is predicted to be one of the biggest ever recorded owing to its total area almost the size of the U.S. state of Delaware, is braced to break of Antarctica. According to researchers, this might result in collapse of a massive ice shelf on the continent.

The researchers also mentioned that if the iceberg did manage to break away then it would be one of the ten largest ever recorded.

Research scientists say that a 1,900 square-mile section of the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula expatiated suddenly last month, growing by nearly 11 miles. It is now only linked to the main body by a 12 mile section of ice.

Researchers who are monitoring a gigantic crack in the ice found out that it had grown very fast during the second half of 2016, where it increased in size by 11 miles in December alone.

As per the researchers at Project MIDAS which is a British-backed Antarctic research project, when the iceberg drifts away, the ice shelf will recede nearly 10 percent of its surface area, thereby leaving it at its most retrograded position ever recorded.

Professor Adrian Luckman, project leader from the U.K.'s Swansea University said that, "If it doesn't go in the next few months, I'll be amazed." Earlier the researches have mentioned that a calving event could take place at some stage in the coming decade.

Scientists further say that calving events like this could result in the Larsen C ice shelf to break into pieces completely, as its neighbor Larsen B did in 2002.

Martin O'Leary, a researcher on the project, said, "We think that once this iceberg has gone, the Larsen C ice shelf will be in a less stable position than before, precisely how much less stable depends on what path the crack takes as it propagates, I think we're probably more worried that the next iceberg could cause the ice shelf to collapse rather than this time around."

In November 2016, scientists from NASA carried out an airborne survey of polar ice which measured the crack in Larsen C to be approximately 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and nearly third of a mile deep.

For almost decades, scientists have been constantly monitoring the rift on the ice shelf. According to the researchers the calving event was “part of the natural evolution of the ice shelf,” but further added that there could be a connection to altering climate, however they do not have a direct evidence of it.

The break up will not straight away contribute to a sea-level rise, since the ice is already floating. Nevertheless, the coastal icebergs support the land-based ice in their absence more of that ice will flow into the sea. Researchers have predicted that if the land-based ice held back by Larsen C dropped in the ocean, it probably will result in a 10cm rise in the global sea levels.

In a reply to the aspect of concerns on social media, MIDAS scientists replied that there was no need for alarm. "This is a fairly normal event, although it is spectacular and quite rare."

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