Manhattan-Sized Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica

Written by Julia Travers and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier lost another large chunk of ice at the end of January. The section of ice that broke off theglacieron the western coast of Antarctica was roughly the size of Manhattan. It was 10 times smaller than the piece the same glacier sloughed in July 2015.

After the enormous piece of ice broke off The Pine Island Glacier in 2015, cracks were spotted during a late 2016 flyover, Climate Centralreported. The recent smaller, though still substantial, ice breakage is considered an “after-shock” event, Ohio State glaciologist Ian HowattoldNASA. NASA’s Operational Land Imager captured a series of images documenting the ice loss.

The Pine Island Glacier is known as a fast stream glacier because it moves quickly and commonly sheds ice. It is already responsible for 25 percent of Antarctica’s ice loss,according toDigital Journal.

The phenomenon of rapid glacial calving or ice loss “fits into the larger picture of basal crevasses in the center of the ice shelf being eroded by warmoceanwater, causing the ice shelf to break from the inside out,” Howatt said. Basal crevasses are cracks that extend upward from the base of the body of ice.

Sometimes, basal ice cracks are not visible. Small rifts of this nature exist about six miles into the Pine Island Glacier and are expected to result in further calving.

Also in Antarctica, acracklonger than 80 miles in the Larsen C ice shelf is currently being monitored. As the rift grows, the shelf gets closer to shedding a more than 3,000 square mile iceberg.

In March 2016, astudy,Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise,in the journalNatureexplained howocean warmingwas driving rising sea levels and the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice sheet.

“Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a meter ofsea-level riseby 2100 and more than 15 meters by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years,” the study states.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

98 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

Blossfeld. Sea ice in Antarctica has expanded due to increased precipation and polar winds, due to what?... global warming. It's an argument of armchair scientists trying to disprove global warming with fake analyses. That has nothing to do with the land ice sheets which are steadily decreasing. That land ice is and will be raising the level of the oceans and along with the Greenland ice will swamp the coastal cities. When you start to "believe" this it will be too late.

SEND
Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

There's a bigger catastrophe than what is happening and what you can imagine looming on the horizon. Much of that CO2 and 80% of the heat is being absorbed by the oceans (which is destroying ocean life and coral reefs, and raising its acidity which destroys shelled organisms). The oceans are acting as a buffer to what would be catastrophic effects. But that buffer has a limit. Once the oceans reach that limit and start releasing the CO2, the heat will be released into the atmosphere as well. Massive amounts of CO2 will enter the upper atmosphere and the oceanic heat will act as a booster. The human race will not be able to survive in an earth affected by that. That sudden and massive planetary destruction is what ignorance and the evil of the overpopulated human race is about to unleash.

SEND
Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

John W. That's like saying you don't believe that water makes you wet, or that fire makes you hot. 30 billion tons of CO2 beyond the capacity of the earth land and water biosystems to absorb is entering the upper atmosphere yearly thanks to human greed activity. THAT"S 100% REALITY, deal with it. Denying reality will kill you. It's a mechanism and of the stupid in human society.. humans have demonstrated they can so stupid insects appear to be geniuses next the to human thing, You go ahead and engage in willful delusion based on human destruction and greed. It won't save your life when the biosphere reaches it's tipping point. No god will save you then, reality will take over.

SEND
Angela K
Angela K7 months ago

:-((

SEND
John W
John W7 months ago

Green star coming your way.

SEND
John W
John W7 months ago

Lady F,
Whilst I don't believe in climate change, becoming a vegan is a good idea and an ethical choice

SEND
Berenice Guedes de Sá

This is sad and maybe will affect all of us in na certain period of time. But the worst part is that will affect all animals and plants of this planet too!!!

SEND
Berenice Guedes de Sá

Always our fault!! When will we learn to take care of our house - The Earth?

SEND
Lady F
Lady F7 months ago

The biggest contributor to climate change is the raising-for-slaughter animal industry. Humans (contrary to the lobbyists) do NOT need animal flesh to get all the nutrients needed to maintain good health.

SEND