BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s one for the record books. An immense iceberg, the largest ever recorded, has split off the coast of Antarctica.
The berg is 2,200 square miles, the size of Delaware, and NASA researchers had spent months watching the crack grow until the final break sent it adrift from the Larsen ice sheet earlier this week.
Now, like smaller icebergs, it will begin to melt, but it won’t raise sea levels.
“Because it’s already floating,” says Dr. Christopher Shuman, of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “It’s already displaced all the water it stores in its ice mass.”
Like ice cubes melting in a drink.
Since the beginning of this century, the Larsen ice sheet, which floats on water and is not on land, has been shrinking.
“The big pictures is clear,” according to Shuman. “Changes are happening.”
And while icebergs won’t raise sea levels, the glaciers that sit behind ice shelves will.
It’s happening in Greenland already. Runoff from melting glaciers pouring into the sea, because the ice shelves that kept the glaciers bottled up are disappearing.
And as glaciers shrink, less sunlight is reflected back into space, melting more ice.
“That’s what will change sea level,” Shuman says. “By 2100, we’re looking at perhaps a couple of feet of sea level rise from all the ice sources… Two to three feet plus a storm surge, is very bad news for a lot of people who live near the coast.”
Destructive potential no longer guaranteed to be locked up in ice.
The newly formed iceberg is 90 feet above water. The rest is 630 feet below. It packs 1 trillion metric tons of ice.