New aerial footage of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica shows the crack recently grew 17 miles in just two months. Scientists predict that in the next couple of months one of the largest glaciers in the world will break off.
Scientists have been monitoring the crack for years and after it grew 18 kilometers in December, in January the process accelerated and the crack expanded an additional 10 kilometers by mid-January.
Martin O’Leary, a member of Project Midas explained that his team has been monitoring the crack since 2010, and three years ago they realized that if the crack continues to grow it will cause a massive iceberg. According to expert estimates, the iceberg will be about 5000 square kilometers in size, which is approximately half the size of Lebanon.
Larsen is still called an ice glacier because it’s still attached to the land, even though it’s in the ocean. Larsen A disintegrated in 1995, while Larsen B in 2002.
Scientist label this even as a geological phenomenon not a climate one. Even though Antarctica’s appearance will change drastically, experts point out that it’s not necessarily a consequence from climate change.
Still, O’Leary says that the consequences from this event could be major. Losing such a huge chunk of ice could make the whole reef more vulnerable to climate change, making it more unstable, prone to more breakage or total disintegration.
But scientists point out that there’s still not enough information to predict if this will happen and when. There are also indications that the ice on Larsen, which is currently on land, could slide into the ocean and increase the level by 10cm.