In news: An enormous iceberg, a little bigger than the state of Rhode Island, has broken off of Antartica.
About the iceberg-
- The finger-shaped chunk of ice is roughly 105 miles (170 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide.
- The 1,667-square-mile (4,320 square kilometers) iceberg is now the world’s biggest and has been called A-76, after the Antarctic quadrant where it was first spotted.
- A-68A, was the previous title holder for the world’s largest iceberg.
- A-76 calved from the western side of Antarctica’s Ronne Ice Shelf.
- The Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the largest of several enormous floating sheets of ice that connect to the continent’s landmass and extend out into surrounding seas.
- It was captured by the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinel, a two-satellite constellation that orbits Earth’s poles.
- The satellites confirmed an earlier observation made by the British Antarctic Survey, which was the first organization to notice the breakaway.
- The berg is now floating freely on the Weddell Sea, a large bay in the western Antarctic.
- As the ice shelf that this berg calved from was already floating on water, the event won’t directly impact sea levels.
- However, ice shelves help to slow the flow of glaciers and ice streams into the sea and the loss of parts of an ice shelf eventually contributes to rising seas.
- A76 and its nearby predecessor A74 are both just part of natural cycles on ice shelves and are not due to human-induced climate change.