The largest iceberg in the world has just broken off from Antarctica
A massive sheet of ice roughly the shape of Manhattan but more than 70 times larger has sheared offand floated into the Weddell Sea. It is now the largest iceberg in the world, said the European Space Agency (ESA).
The newly calved iceberg A-76 was captured by satellites from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, ESA announced on Wednesday. The space agency said the surface of the iceberg is 1,668 square miles, 106 miles long and 15 miles wide.
The name of the iceberg refers to the region from which it first calved. It is the 76th iceberg tracked by the US National Ice Center.
The iceberg is larger than the state of Rhode Island. ESA notes that it is slightly larger than the Spanish island of Mallorca.
The A-76 broke away from the west side of the Ronne Ice Shelf, one of the largest ice sheets in Antarctica. It was first introduced by Dr. Keith Makinson and the British Atlantic Survey and confirmed by the US National Ice Center using Copernicus Sentinel-1 images.
The event puts iceberg A-23A, which is 1,305 square miles and also swims in the Weddell Sea, in second place for the largest icebergs in the world.
The A68a iceberg, which was once the largest in the world, was on top of onewith a remote South Atlantic island last November that threatened the home of thousands of penguins and other wildlife but broke into smaller pieces before reaching the island. This iceberg was about 150 km long and 30 km wide.
The periodic calving of ice shelves is part of a natural cycle. Ted Scambos, a research glaciologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told Reuters that this calving doesn’t appear to be linked to climate change.
Scambos said the ice shelf was floating in the sea before it crashed, so the event won’t raise sea levels, whereas glaciers and ice sheets found on land dowhen they break off into the ocean. He added that the Ronne Ice Shelf had “behaved steadily and quasi periodically” over the past century.
However, scientists believe that several large icebergs have rapidly disintegrated in recent yearson global warming – these events are now becoming more common. In recent years, researchers in several areas of Antarctica have been alerted showing signs of instability due to a and changing ocean and atmospheric currents.