Massive iceberg breaks off Antarctica—but it's normal

An image by Richard Coleman and the Australian Antarctic Division a massive split in the Amery ice shelf
An image by Richard Coleman and the Australian Antarctic Division a massive split in the Amery ice shelf

A more than 600-square-mile iceberg broke off Antarctica in recent days, but the event is part of a normal cycle and is not related to climate change, scientists say.

The iceberg, dubbed D28, broke away from the Amery ice shelf between September 24 and 25, according to observations from European and American satellites.

It measures 1,582 square kilometers (610 square miles), according to the European Copernicus program.

It is about 210 meters (yards) thick and contains 315 billion tonnes of ice, American glaciologist Helen Amanda Fricker said.

The figures are huge, but iceberg production is part of the normal cycle of ice shelves, which are an extension of the ice cap, she said.

"Ice shelves have to lose because they gain mass. They want to stay the same size," said Fricker, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California.

The gain in mass comes from snow falling on the continent and glaciers that move slowly toward the shore.

The east of Antarctica—where D28 broke off—is different from the west of the continent and Greenland, which are rapidly warming due to change.

"It's really important that the public doesn't get confused and think that this is climate change," Fricker said.

An Australian Antarctic Division image shows a "loose tooth" on the Amery Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica
An Australian Antarctic Division image shows a "loose tooth" on the Amery Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica

An that was three times larger broke off Antarctica two years ago, she said, causing panic at the time.

"It's a fine line because we definitely don't want people to think that isn't happening," Fricker added.


Explore further

New study reveals strong El Nino events cause large changes in Antarctic ice shelves

© 2019 AFP

Citation: Massive iceberg breaks off Antarctica—but it's normal (2019, October 1) retrieved 15 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-10-massive-iceberg-antarcticabut.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
323 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Oct 01, 2019
The east of Antarctica—where D28 broke off—is different from the west of the continent and Greenland, which are rapidly warming due to climate change.


What utter crap. So climate change only happens in the East when near the pole, oh okay. Dopes.

Oct 01, 2019
Shit happens. Not all of it's climate change. You've been whining that climate science says everything is climate change. It doesn't. Get over it.

Oct 01, 2019
Old Goon C have been watching too many 60s conspiracy movies (as always)

Oct 01, 2019
"but the event is part of a normal cycle and is not related to climate change, scientists say"

Someone probably just lost his/her job. You aren't allowed to say something like this isn't climate change.

Oct 01, 2019
But they did. And it's published in the literature, and reported in journalism. How do you explain that?

Oct 01, 2019
Of course this is not the result of the AGW Cult's climate LIES. Everyone knows the magical CO2 dust is afraid of the East Antarctic, it's wayy... too cold there. CO2 is smart, it prefers the much warmer West, where there is intense geothermal activity to heat things up. But, shhhh... it doesn't want these Chicken Little "scientists" to know that.

Oct 01, 2019
''But they did. And it's published in the literature, and reported in journalism. How do you explain that?''

"It's a fine line because we definitely don't want people to think that climate change isn't happening," Fricker added.''

Oct 01, 2019
The east of Antarctica—where D28 broke off—is different from the west of the continent and Greenland, which are rapidly warming due to climate change.


Only a complete fool would believe this crap.

Oct 01, 2019
The liar denier climate cranks go around saying that "teh evul siensetis say everything is climate change." An article is published for something that happened, but the scientists are careful to say this is not due to climate change. But the cranks are still whining. This is stupidity. You made a claim. It got proved wrong. What do you need, written instructions for how to use your brains?

Are you now claiming this was due to climate change? Because I thought you were saying there isn't any climate change. Make up your two brain cells.

Oct 01, 2019
Oh DaSchitebo, you quanky knob gobbler, your desperation for man-meat is showing.

Oct 01, 2019
Keep on telling us about your manseks obsession, @tehgeighalgore. Its obvious you have nothing else to talk about on the science site.

Oct 02, 2019
If you had a 55 gallon drum filled with water as the ocean, it would be (almost exactly) a drop.

I had to do some serious (lol) math to wrap my head around the size of the thing, and figure out how big that was compared to the ocean.

The ocean is 1,450,000,000,000,000,000 short tons (2000 pounds).

But they're using tonnes here... A tonne is a metric ton, which is 1000 kilograms, or 2204 pounds.
If it were short tons, the iceberg would be 347,130,000,000 short tons.

So, the ocean is 4.177109 million times bigger.

There's something like 75,708.2 drops of water in a gallon of water.
(4177109 / 75708)

Which ends up being ~55.175 gallons.

Oct 02, 2019
So? It's not global warming. Are you denying that?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more