Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica

(CNN) A massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica, according to a UK-based research team.

Scientists from Project MIDAS had been monitoring a break in the Larsen C ice shelf — the fourth largest in Antarctica — following the collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and had observed significant advances in the rift over the past 12 months.

The rift, then spanning 70 miles, on Larsen C pictured in November last year.

Experts said the separation of a 5,800 square kilometers (2,239 square miles) section of Larsen C was confirmed to have broken away between Monday and Wednesday by NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite, which is capable of producing images in thermal infrared at a resolution of 1 km.

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“We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometers of ice,” Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, lead investigator of the MIDAS project said in a statement.
He told CNN the team believes the iceberg has remained intact adding, “This is part of the normal behavior of ice shelves. What makes this unusual is the size.”

Map showing iceberg detachment based on data from NASA dated July 12.

Scientists believe the iceberg — likely to be named A68 — has a volume twice that of Lake Erie in North America and is more than three times the size of the greater London area.

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It’s half the size of the largest iceberg ever recorded: B15. With an area of 11,007 square kilometers (4,250 square miles) — about the size of the state of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica — it calved off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.
With the iceberg now floating independently, the area of Larsen C has been reduced by more than 12%, forever changing the landscape of the peninsula, according to experts.

An aerial view of the Larsen C rift.

Luckman said that as the sheet of ice was already floating before it carved off the shelf “there will be no immediate impact.”
“This event does not directly affect anyone, and repercussions, if there are any, will not be felt for years. However, it is a spectacular and enormous geographical event which has changed the landscape.”
“We will study the ice shelf for signs that it is reacting to the calving — but we do not expect anything much to happen for perhaps years. Icebergs are routinely monitored by various agencies, and they will be keen to keep track of this one,” Luckman added.

Back in November, a satellite photo revealed just 5 km of ice connected the ice sheet to Larsen C.

Calving is a natural occurrence but scientists have been exploring if climate change may have played a role in expediting the rift.
The team of researchers have not yet found “any link to human-induced climate change,” Martin O’Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and member of the MIDAS project team, said in a statement.

NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

Luckman added, “We have no evidence to link this directly to climate change, and no reason to believe that it would not have happened without the extra warming that human activity has caused. But the ice shelf is now at its most retreated position ever recorded and regional warming may have played a part in that.”
He continued, “This event does not directly affect anyone, and repercussions, if there are any, will not be felt for years. However, it is a spectacular and enormous geographical event which has changed the landscape

Huge Iceberg Towers Over Canadian Town In Iceberg Alley

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Mountain bikers stop to look at icebergs drifting off the coast of Ferryland, Newfoundland, on Tuesday.

Story highlights

  • A large iceberg is grounded off Canada’s East coast
  • Tourists are flocking to the town of Ferryland to get pictures of the iceberg

(CNN)Canada’s “Iceberg Alley” is living up to its name this spring, and tourists are flocking to the town of Ferryland to see the behemoth that has grounded just off shore.

The iceberg towers over the picturesque town, which is about an hour south of St. John’s on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian Ice Service classified it as “large,” which means it has a height of 151-240 feet and is between 401 and 670 feet long.
Kaelam Power went mountain biking along the coast on Tuesday and paused to take pictures of the iceberg.
“It’s quite powerful to see,” he said. “You hear the waves crashing against the water line. From time to time, you may hear a cracking or banging sound.
Photographer Jody Martin braved the crowds on Easter Sunday to see the iceberg.
“It was a beautiful day and a lot of happy faces,” she said. “Everyone seems to enjoy the beauty of the huge iceberg.”
Martin plans to go back soon to try to get some night images.
Iceberg season runs from spring through late summer and the waters start to refreeze in mid-September. A combination of currents bring Arctic ice southward along the Newfoundland coast, which is how it earned the “Iceberg Alley” nickname.
CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller said it’s rare to have an iceberg this large so close to the shore.
The iceberg looked even bigger last week, when Paddy Wadden went to check it out.
He’s lived in St. John’s his entire life and said the icebergs “are amazing to see in person.”
It’s already been a particularly busy iceberg season.
The International Ice Patrol said 648 icebergs have been seen in the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes as of this week. That’s compared to an average 212 icebergs during that period in a typical year.
If you see the iceberg, or get other interesting weather photos or videos, post them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #CNNWeather, but be safe.