There are now only around 3 miles of of ice tethering an enormous trillion-ton piece of ice to the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica — with the rapidly approaching iceberg calving event slated to be one of the largest observed in modern times once it occurs.
The most recent observation images of the Larsen C ice shelf show that, as this event has been getting closer, numerous cracks have been radiating out from the tether in all directions.
In other words, it’s looking very likely that the iceberg calving will feature one of the largest icebergs seen in modern times accompanied by numerous other enormous (but still much smaller) icebergs.
Climate Central provides more: “New satellite imagery shows a host of new cracks branching off the end of the main rift. According to scientists working on Project MIDAS, an effort that’s closely monitoring the ice shelf, that means there will likely be a swarm of smaller icebergs that break off with or shortly after the main iceberg does.
“Those icebergs will likely be formidable in their own right, but they’ll look lilliputian next to the iceberg that’s been in the process of breaking off since 2010. That iceberg represents 10% of the area of the Larsen C ice shelf and will stretch across an area the size of Delaware. If you squeezed all the ice into a column the area of a football field, it would reach two-thirds of the way to the moon.”
As we’ve noted in most of our earlier coverage of the subject, the iceberg calving event will likely see the whole Larsen C ice shelf destabilized, eventually leading to its total collapse — as this is exactly what happened with the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelfs following enormous iceberg calving events.
It should be noted here that Antarctica’s ice shelfs — which keep the continent’s icebergs from flowing into the sea at a much faster rate — are currently being weakened from underneath by warming waters, and also to some degree from above by warming air.
Image by Project MIDAS
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