EnvironmentWorld's largest iceberg breaks off Antarctica: ESA

World’s largest iceberg breaks off Antarctica: ESA


Paris, France: A massive iceberg has broken off from an ice shelf in Antarctica and is floating in the Weddell Sea, according to the European Space Agency.

It was discovered on satellite photographs and is “currently the largest berg in the world,” according to the ESA. It is known as A-76 and is roughly the size of Manhattan but more than 70 times larger.

The iceberg is approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) long and 25 kilometers wide, with a total size of 4,320 square kilometers, somewhat larger than Majorca, a Spanish island.

The British Antarctic Survey first noticed the berg, which broke off the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf, and confirmed it using photos from the Copernicus satellite.

It dethrones the A-23A iceberg, which is likewise located in the Weddell Sea and measures around 3,880 square kilometers.

The world’s largest iceberg (~ 4320 km²) recently broke off the Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica #Sentinel1 @BAS_News @sentinel_hub @ESA_EO @esascience @EO_OPEN_SCIENCE pic.twitter.com/PdQvfrNgaK

— Adrien Wehrlé (@AdrienWehrle) May 19, 2021

Last November, the world’s largest iceberg appeared to be on its way to collide with a remote South Atlantic island home to thousands of penguins and seals, posing a threat to their capacity to obtain food.

The iceberg, dubbed A68a, had also broken away from the Larsen Ice Shelf, which has warmed more quickly than any other area of the world’s southernmost continent.

A68a broke up before it could harm the abundant wildlife in the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia, measuring 160 kilometers long and 48 kilometers wide.

Since the 19th century, the average surface temperature of the Earth has risen by one degree Celsius, intensifying droughts, heat waves, and tropical cyclones.

The air over Antarctica, on the other hand, has warmed by more than twice as much.

Major portions of the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Peninsula, which had been stable for almost 10,000 years, crumbled in days in 1995 and 2002. In 2008 and 2009, the nearby Wilkins Ice Shelf broke up, which was followed by the disintegration of the adjoining Wilkins Ice Shelf.

Hydrofracturing was the most likely culprit in both occurrences, according to previous studies.

When water – which is heavier than ice – floods through fissures on the surface of ice shelves caused by surface warming, the fractures are violently forced open, causing an iceberg to break off.

Icebergs are usually called by the Antarctic quadrant in which they were first discovered, followed by a number.

More letters are added to differentiate the fragments if they break apart.


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