Giant iceberg the size of P.E.I. breaks off Antarctica

Giant iceberg the size of P.E.I. breaks off Antarctica

Glacial mass from Larsen C weighs 1 trillion tonnes and measures 5,800 square km

Thomson Reuters Posted: Jul 12, 2017 7:41 AM ETLast Updated: Jul 12, 2017 10:39 AM ET, http://www.cbc.ca/news/technol...antarctica-1.4200787

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up.

The one trillion tonne iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.

Before the iceberg broke off, the rift across the Larsen C Ice Shelf had grown longer and deeper. (NASA/Reuters)

The iceberg — some 200 square kilometres larger than P.E.I — has been close to breaking off for a few months. Throughout the Antarctic winter, scientists monitored the progress of the rift in the ice shelf using the European Space Agency satellites.

"The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict," said Adrian Luckman, professor at Swansea University and lead investigator of Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf for years.

"It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," he added.

The ice will add to risks for ships now it has broken off. The peninsula is outside major trade routes but the main destination for cruise ships visiting from South America.

In 2009, more than 150 passengers and crew were evacuated after the MV Explorer sank after striking an iceberg off the Antarctic peninsula.

The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, was already floating before it broke away so there is no immediate impact on sea levels, but the calving has left the Larsen C ice shelf reduced in area by more than 12 per cent.

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Sea levels rose after previous ice shelf collapses

The Larsen A and B ice shelves, which were situated further north on the Antarctic Peninsula, collapsed in 1995 and 2002, respectively.

"This resulted in the dramatic acceleration of the glaciers behind them, with larger volumes of ice entering the ocean and contributing to sea level rise," said David Vaughan, glaciologist and director of science at British Antarctic Survey.

"If Larsen C now starts to retreat significantly and eventually collapses, then we will see another contribution to sea level rise," he added.

Larsen c breaks off antarctica

The iceberg weighs a trillion tonnes and contains almost as much water as Lake Ontario, according to the European Space Agency, which took this photo on July 12 with its Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. (ESA)

Big icebergs break off Antarctica naturally, meaning scientists are not linking the rift to man-made climate change. The ice, however, is a part of the Antarctic peninsula that has warmed fast in recent decades.

"In the ensuing months and years, the ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may suffer further calving events which may eventually lead to collapse; opinions in the scientific community are divided," Luckman said.

"Our models say it will be less stable, but any future collapse remains years or decades away."

Mitwah posted:

In the next years or decade as the sea level rises and it floats northward, this can be disastrous for Guyana..

At 7 feet BELOW sea level this is a real problem.   Those who think that the solution is to move inland also don't face basic reality.

1. We are an import/export based economy so we need access to harbors.

2.  Most of the interior is useless except for resource extraction and cannot support a large population.

I invite those who want to move the capital into the interior to note the experience of Brazil and Belize.  The largest cities in both remain those on or near the coast with the "capitals" remaining outside of the scope of most economic activity. 

And in the case of Brazil much of the economic activity which does occur in the interior is a creeping environmental disaster every bit as devastating in scope as that which caused this ice shelf to collapse.

Mitwah posted:

In the next years or decade as the sea level rises and it floats northward, this can be disastrous for Guyana..

I have seen the level of the Corentyne River rising. I see the water hitting just about a foot below the highest part of the wall. Growing up the water was at least a couple feet below this level. It is getting scary.

skeldon_man posted:
Mitwah posted:

In the next years or decade as the sea level rises and it floats northward, this can be disastrous for Guyana..

I have seen the level of the Corentyne River rising. I see the water hitting just about a foot below the highest part of the wall. Growing up the water was at least a couple feet below this level. It is getting scary.

I can report the same for the G/T seawall.  I suggest that Guyanese need to figure this out as relocating completely to the interior is pure fantasy.

While sea levels do affect countries, the gradual increase is estimated to be about 8.5 inches for the past 130 years -- from 1880 to around 2010.

As this trend continues, many places bordering the sea will be inundated, destroyed or severely damaged in 500 to 1,000 years.

caribny posted:

Let us hope that one of the calves of this giant crashes into one of Trump's Florida golf courses. He will call this fake news and blame Hillary.

What does this event have to do with Trump?  You saying all this happen in the past 6-months?  The berg has been breaking away for years!

The implications of the US not being part of the Paris accord will have very limited implications.  Greenhouse gases resulting from human action have peaked and will reverse in the coming decades, due to technology.  Most environmental issues is being caused by local activity.

Guyana's perennial flooding is caused by decades of mismanagement of the higher back lands.  China/India pollution is but to modernization.

The people there suffer the most and the people there should demand their Govts act to mitigate.  This is not a US, Paris or anyone else issue. China/India already taking local action.   China already taking action with conversion to Hydro, use of electric/hybrid vehicles, etc.

India already taking action.  Whenever I went to South Bombay, the air was clean and easy to breathe.  The reason, all commercial vehicles, buses, trucks, Tuk-Tuks were all LNG or Electric.

Guyana's Govt has to act on Guyana's issues, the US or Paris have little to do with it.

Environmentalists are making much to do over little and scaring kids and those easily convinced and who care not to think through the real issues!  This is all semi-fake science!

ba$eman posted:
caribny posted:

Let us hope that one of the calves of this giant crashes into one of Trump's Florida golf courses. He will call this fake news and blame Hillary.

What does this event have to do with Trump?  .

Get back to me when you hear that Trump has a plan to reduce fossil fuel emissions. This became a major cause of climatic change and one that is leading to sea level rise. 

Guyana is already below high tide and increasing it will be also below low tide. So if you think that flooding is now an issue it will get worse.

And the fact remains is that the people who will suffer the most, the poor every where, as well as poor small nations like Guyana, have contributed less to this problem.  They also lack the resources to deal with this.  If Guyana ends up having to abandon its coastal belt what will it do and who will fund the need for the massive infrastructural development.

In fact even now there is a belief that climatic change has played a role in growing instability in the Middle East and Africa as endless drought conditions increasingly destabilize the lives of many who live there.

So in 50 years when the Atlantic Ocean is lapping around St Georges Cathedral and what remains of your sugar industry is destroyed because of high salinity I know that you don't think that large nations would be to blame.

The USA is one of the countries most responsible because of its large carbon footprint. India and China are FINALLY attempting to deal with this, while your Trump wants to fools coal miners that there is a future for them in coal.

In fact his FL golf courses already experience higher incidences of flooding so he should know better. But then we see that he has the attention span of a 4 year old.

ba$eman posted:
.

Environmentalists are making much to do over little .

I know especially when NYC has had several tornadoes in recent years, at least one was moderately severe and we had Sandy and other events.

The fact remains is that climatic change is real and the results will be drastic.  Not for you and I as we are not young, but for any one who will be around in the next 50+ years.

Donald Trump instructed Air Force One to purposely land on the trillion ton iceberg that broke away. If the sun comes crashing to earth, Trump is responsible. He is also responsible for the shitting you had over the weekend. Guyanese have nothing better to do than finding faults and casting blames for natural phenomenon.

Prince posted:

have nothing better to do than finding faults and casting blames for natural phenomenon.

This is not  a natural phenomenon.  This is global climatic change,  Yes that phenomenon which Trump suddenly decided isn't happening even though sea level rise has begun to impact some of his coastal properties.

As the supposed leader of the world's most powerful nation he can be part of the solution, but he choses instead to be part of the problem.

Yes this same hypocrite who is screaming about imported steel yet he and his family out source their supplies from Asia, and don't even have the manners to tell Americans that they will begin to source out of the USA, regardless of cost.

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