An iceberg the size of the City of Los Angeles has broken off from the Antarctic Shelf. Numerous reports confirm that the calving occurred earlier this week.
According to scientists and oceanographers, calving is a natural phenomenon that occurs as part of the ice shelf’s routine cycle. Moreover, they believe that the occurrence has minimal to no connection to climate change. In a statement released by the Australian Arctic Division, Helen Fricker mentioned that: “We don’t think this event is linked to climate change, it’s part of the ice shelf’s normal cycle, where we see major calving events every 60–70 years”.
The calving occurred off Amery Shelf, itself a loose end in the eastern part of Antarctica. Aptly named D-28, the LA-sized iceberg weighed 315 Billion Tons and measures 1,636 Square Kilometers. Additionally, this calving figures as the first major event across the Amery Shelf. Subsequently, the last time calving of this magnitude occurred in 1964.
Despite glaciologists’ assurances that the calving was not caused by warming sea temperatures, Ben Fenzi, also from the Australian Antarctic Division was quoted in saying that:
“But what will be interesting to see is how the loss of this ice will influence the ocean melting under the remaining ice shelf and the speed at which the ice flows off the continent.”
The iceberg could cause navigation problems
Subsequently, scientists expect that the iceberg would float away from Antarctica’s landmass. Accordingly, currents across the ocean would bring the iceberg westwards where it will float and eventually melt. However, the melting would take years. And throughout its melting phase, the iceberg figures to cause navigation issues for ships and liners.
This chunk figures to be the largest calving occurrence in Antarctica. And no matter how scientists argue that climate change has nothing to do with this, it seems to have a bearing.