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Scientists spot NYC-sized iceberg breaking from Antarctica

On an aerial survey of Antarctica, scientists discovered an 18-mile-long crack in an ice shelf that could produce an iceberg larger than New York City.

Researchers were measuring the Pine Island Glacier from a NASA plane when they found the break. While glaciers give birth to icebergs naturally, there's increasing concern that warming temperatures are destabilizing polar regions by eroding ice shelves that keep glaciers attached to the mainland. Without ice shelves, glaciers could melt into the ocean faster, raising sea levels.

The Pine Island glacier is "the largest source of uncertainty in global sea level rise projections," said NASA scientists in a statement. "It is likely that once the iceberg floats away, the leading edge of the ice shelf will have receded farther than at any time since its location was first recorded in the 1940s," NASA noted.

Researchers measured the crack at an average of 260 feet wide, and 820 feet apart at its widest. The deepest points were nearly 200 feet. "When the iceberg breaks free it will cover about 340 square miles of surface area," NASA stated. New York City comes in at 302 square miles. But the iceberg is nowhere near a record; that belongs to a 12,000-square-mile behemoth found in 1956 (MSNBC, Oct. 26). -- JP


Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net. 202-628-6500

 

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Reprinted from climatewire-10-31_11-11 with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net. 202-628-6500.


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