Sci­en­tists to con­tinue to mon­i­tor largest ice­berg

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LONDON: A vast ice­berg twice the vol­ume of Lake Erie has bro­ken off from a key float­ing ice shelf in Antarc­tica, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day.

The ice­berg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity of Swansea in Bri­tain said.

The process, known as calv­ing, oc­curred in the last few days, when a 5 800km² sec­tion broke away. Re­searchers are watch­ing closely to see whether cli­mate change is af­fect­ing the phe­nom­e­non.

“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 kilo­me­tres of ice,” said Adrian Luck­man of Swansea Univer­sity. “We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the im­pact of this calv­ing.”

Nasa and Euro­pean Space Agency satel­lites have been mon­i­tor­ing the shelf – of­fer­ing dra­matic pic­tures of the break that height­ened in­ter­est be­yond the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.

Re­searchers from the UK-based Antarc­tic project, Midas, have been mon­i­tor­ing the rift in Larsen C for years, fol­low­ing ear­lier re­search on the col­lapse of the Larsen A shelf in 1995 and the break-up of the Larsen B shelf in 2002.

The project, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ef­fects of a warm­ing cli­mate through a com­bi­na­tion of field­work, satel­lite ob­ser­va­tion and com­puter sim­u­la­tion, de­scribes the ice­berg as one of the largest recorded.

“At this point it would be pre­ma­ture to say that this was caused by global warm­ing,” said Anna Hogg of the Cen­tre for Po­lar Ob­ser­va­tion and Mod­el­ling at the Univer­sity of Leeds.

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