315 billion tonnes of ice just broke off Antarctica

315 billion tonnes of ice just broke off Antarctica

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has produced its biggest iceberg in over 50 years.

According to the BBC, the calved block, called D28, is 631 square miles, which is just smaller than the Isle of Skye.

The incident is not believed to be related to climate change, and instead allows Antarctica's third largest ice shelf to keep its balance. Scientists have, in fact, expected D28 to break away from the ice shelf for a number of years.

The iceberg will now have to be monitored in case it poses a danger to shipping.

Speaking to the BBC, professor Helen Fricker, who hails from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said "I am excited to see this calving event after all these years."

"We knew it would happen eventually, but just to keep us all on our toes, it is not exactly where we expected it to be. While there is much to be concerned about in Antarctica, there is no cause for alarm yet for this particular ice shelf."

Fricker emphasised that there was no link between this particular event and climate change. Satellite data since the 1990's has continued to show that Amery is largely in balance with its surroundings, in spite of experiencing strong surface melt in the summer.

Credit: NASA

Earlier this year, scientists revealed that another huge Antarctic ice shelf - this one the size of France - the Ross Ice Shelf, is melting 10 times faster than expected.

A team from Cambridge University spent a number of years investigating how the Ice Shelf's north-west sector interacted with the ocean beneath it, and they concluded that surface water heated by the sun appeared to be accelerating the melting.

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