Polar meltdown

Iceberg breaks off from Antarctica's Ross Sea Ice Shelf

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Disaster has struck once again at Antarctica's Ross Sea Ice Shelf. Close on the heels of the breaking off of two large ice chunks in March 2002, another iceberg called C-19 has drifted away from it. The recent break-off was spotted by researchers from the Washington dc -based National Ice Centre while performing a satellite image analysis of the shelf. This ice shelf is a large sheet of glacial ice extending from the Antarctic mainland into the southern Ross Sea. According to Bill Budd, professor of meteorology at the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre, the phenomenon has reduced Ross ice shelf to its 1902 size.

C-19 was approximately 200 kilometres (km) in length, 31 km in width and covered an area of almost 3,900 square kilometres. Experts aver that rising temperatures are responsible for the iceberg's break-off (see: Down To Earth, Vol 10, No 24, May 15, 2002). They explain that emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global temperatures to rise and polar ice caps to melt. "The impact of rising planetary temperatures is usually felt first on glaciers such as icebergs and they are the best indicators of the global warming trend," says Kalee Kreider, an expert from the National Environmental Trust.

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