It’s all over the news: A massive iceberg—nearly half the size of Palawan—has broken off in Antarctica after months being on the brink of completely calving away from the world’s southernmost continent.
The 5,800-square kilometers iceberg split from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf earlier this week, CNN reports. This iceberg accounts for at least 10 percent of the total area of the said ice shelf, which also happens to be the fourth largest in Antarctica.
How serious a development is this? A UK-based research team, which has been closely monitoring developments in the Antarctic region, says there's nothing to be alarmed about...yet.
In the same report, Project Midas lead investigator Adrian Luckman downplayed the potential global effects of this natural occurrence. “This event does not directly affect anyone, and repercussions, if there are any, will not be felt for years. However, it is a spectacular and enormous geographical event which has changed the landscape,” he said.
Luckman also tackled its relation to climate change and global warming. “We have no evidence to link this directly to climate change, and no reason to believe that it would not have happened without the extra warming that human activity has caused. But the ice shelf is now at its most retreated position ever recorded and regional warming may have played a part in that,” he said.
Last January, Project Midas said the rift underwent drastic developments, with only 20 kilometers of ice keeping it connected to the Larsen C ice shelf.
It is feared that the Larsen C ice shelf might have a similar fate to the Larsen A and B ice shelves, which both disintegrated in 1995 and 2002 respectively.
But massive icebergs breaking off from Antarctica isn’t the real problem here. According to Guardian Wires, it’s the glaciers and their effects on sea levels that we should be watching out for. Here’s a short video about ice shelves and their “cork effect” on glaciers.