Trillion ton iceberg breaks off Antarctica
Scientists disagree about whether climate change contributed to the split
An iceberg measuring twice the size of Luxembourg has broken away from Antarctica.
Scientists from the UK-based Project Midas had been monitoring the break in the Larsen C ice shelf - the fourth largest in Antarctica - following the collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and observed significant advances in the rift over the past 12 months.
The new iceberg, weighing more than a trillion tons, is now at the mercy of the ocean currents and could last for decades in the open seas, "creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up", says Reuters. It has an area of 2,239 sq miles (5,800 sq km).
Speaking to CNN, Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, said that while the birth of the huge iceberg might look dramatic "the 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.
Attention has now turned to the cause of the split. Big icebergs break off Antarctica naturally, "meaning scientists are not linking the rift to manmade climate change", says Reuters.
But "while there is no evidence that the calving of the giant iceberg is linked to such processes", says The Guardian, Twila Moon, a glacier expert at the US National Ice and Snow Data Center, told the paper that climate change could have made the situation "more likely".
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