World’s largest iceberg breaks free in Antartica. Is it a cause for concern?

Iceberg is roughly the size of Rhode Island

Stock image. Photo by Mario Tama
Stock image. Photo by Mario Tama (Getty Images)

Is this something to be concerned about? Many scientists feel it isn’t, but then again, it’s not everyday an iceberg the size of Rhode Island breaks free from Antarctica.

Back in late May, an iceberg roughly 105 miles long and 15 miles wide was spotted by scientists as it broke from the western side of Antarctica’s Ronne Ice Shelf, according to the European Space Agency.

Since breaking off, the huge chunk of ice has been floating along the Weddell Sea, a large bay located above the western portion of Antarctica.

Scientists don’t believe the break, dubbed A76, was caused by climate change -- and it’s part of a normal cycle, according to Scientific American.

So, will this have any environmental impact?

Only time will tell, but this particular iceberg is not expected to directly impact sea levels, according to Scientific American.

But it will still require some monitoring, especially after the previous holder for world’s largest iceberg nearly collided with South Georgia Island, a breeding ground for seals and penguins, in 2017.

In addition, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said ice shelves in general help slow the flow of glaciers and ice streams into the sea, so losing parts of an ice shelf can help contribute to rising sea levels.

The NSIDC has also said Antarctica holds enough frozen water to raise sea levels by 200 feet.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.