The threats of global warming and climate change are not surprising any longer. Now, in a latest development scientists from NASA have captured some close-up images of an enormous iceberg, which has just detached itself from one of the largest floating ice shelves of Antarctica.
As per the scientists, the iceberg is one of the largest in recorded history to ever split off from Antarctica and it consists of around four times as much ice as the melting ice sheet that Greenland loses in a year.
"I was shocked, because we flew over the iceberg itself and it looks like it's still part of the ice shelf, in terms of how large it is and the surface texture," said Nathan Kurtz, a scientist with the NASA-led initiative Operation Icebridge, which visited Antarctica in October to get a closer look at the iceberg. "To see it fully detached, to see this massive block of ice floating out there, was pretty shocking," he said.
"Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes," wrote researchers with Project MIDAS, a research group at Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities in Wales, which has been monitoring closely by satellite.
While the break was first detected by one NASA satellite instrument, MODIS on the Aqua satellite, it was later confirmed by the European Space Agency.
The images that were taken by the satellite in July first showed the 2,200-square-mile iceberg getting detached from the Larsen C ice shelf. The scientists had been anticipating that the iceberg, officially called the A-68, would break anytime from the larger ice shelf and in recent months they have noticed a crack that has been extended to more than 100 miles long.
The iceberg in question is the most massive one that Antarctica has ever seen. The scientists said that the volume of it is twice that of Lake Erie and it contains so much mass that if all of it were melted and added to an ocean, the iceberg would drive almost 3 millimeters of global sea level rise, which can flood many global cities like London and New York overnight.
However, the detachment of the iceberg is not supposed to affect the global sea level on its own, as the ice that has been detached was already afloat in the ocean. Kurtz said the detachment does, however, put the destabilization of the larger Larsen C ice shelf into question.