Enormous Iceberg In Antarctica Breaks Off From Its 150-Metre-Thick Ice Shelf

Hanima Anand |Mar 01, 2021

The unprecedented phenomenon is put down to the accelerated climate change and global warming. Scientists spotted the cracks a decade ago but the block has now broken off completely.

People thought they were aware of global warming and climate change but hardly did. The phenomenon isn’t about you feeling hotter in summer and colder in winter only, it’s about broader impacts of the changes on the Earth’s environment.

Enormous iceberg breaks off from Antarctica ice shelf

A decade ago, scientists had spotted massive cracks in the Antarctica ice shelf. However, the 150-meter-thick shelf remained stable throughout the years with subtle changes. It’s not until last Friday that British researchers found a several hundred-meter-crack emerged.

Iceberg Breaks Off From Antarctica 1
The massive cracks first appeared ten years ago.

The cracks continued to widen before breaking off completely from the Antarctic ice shelf. The iceberg is estimated as large as 1,270 km2. For your reference, the size of Zamboanga city of the Philippines is around 1,421 km2.

In fact, scientists have found the first indication of the calving since November last year. The process accelerated quickly in January 2021 when the rift moves forward at 1 km daily. No one in the research team could believe the 150-meter-thick ice shelf would be cut off like this.

Iceberg Breaks Off From Antarctica 2
The cracks widen and tear off the 150-meter-thick ice shelf.

Recent years have recorded more icebergs breaking away from the Antarctica ice shelf due to problems of climate change and global warming.

Though scientists haven’t found any evidence that climate change directly caused the cut-off of this enormous iceberg, many environmentalists believe the issue of global warming relates to this unprecedented phenomenon.

What happens after icebergs in Antarctica break off?

When the icebergs break off from the large ice shelf, they are prone to melting due to warm air and warm water from the outside. Should this phenomenon continues, it will lead to a catastrophic scenario.

Iceberg Breaks Off From Antarctica 3
The breaking off of icebergs may cause unpredictable impacts on both wildlife and human beings.

The mass melting of all ice in Antarctica will cause the sea level to rise about 70 meters in total. This is enough for the ocean to drown all coastal cities and the area of land is reduced significantly.

Having said that, the Antarctica ice cap is proved to have survived through warmer periods. They are not that easy to melt despite the increasing icebergs breaking away.

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