An iceberg the size of Greater London has broken off Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica Sunday, according to the British Antarctic Survey.
Scientists first discovered significant cracks in the ice shelf a decade ago, but there have been two major breaks in the past two years. The BAS Halley Research Station is located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, and glaciologists say the research station is safe.
An iceberg is about 600 square miles or 1,550 square kilometers. Researchers say this phenomenon is expected, not the result of climate change.
“This calving event was expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It’s not about climate change. Our science and operations teams continue to monitor the ice shelf in real-time to ensure the safety of the ice shelf and deliver the science we undertake at Halley,” BAS glaciologist Professor Dominic Hodgson said in a news release.
The calving comes at a time of record low sea ice in Antarctica, which is summer.
Scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center: “Though Antarctic sea ice loss is always sharp at this time of year, this year has been unusually rapid.” reported at the beginning of January“and in late December, Antarctic sea ice extent reached its lowest point in the 45-year satellite record.”
Researchers at the data center say the low sea ice is partly due to a large swath of warmer-than-normal temperatures over the Ross Sea in November and December, which averaged 2 degrees Celsius. Strong winds have also led to the reduction of sea ice.
The latest data shows that the sea ice has not recovered since then, suggesting that the continent could end the summer with a new record in the books. second year.
Antarctica has experienced wildly swinging sea ice extent over the past few decades from record highs to record lows. Unlike the Arctic, where scientists say climate change is accelerating its effects, the extent of Antarctic sea ice is highly variable.
“There is a connection between what’s happening in Antarctica and the general warming trend that’s happening in the rest of the world, but it’s different than what we’re seeing in mountain glaciers and what we’re seeing in the Arctic,” said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist. Boulder, Colorado, and lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, previously told CNN.
Satellite data dating back to 1978 show the region was still producing record sea ice in 2014 and 2015. Then it suddenly dropped in 2016 and has remained below average ever since.
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