Antarctica falling apart, lost a huge chunk four times the size of Manhattan

An Antarctic glacier just experienced the loss of a huge chunk of ice which is said to be four and a half times the size of Manhattan. The iceberg broke off from the middle of the glacier instead of breaking from the sides. This is the second time a two-year span that a massive iceberg separated from the mainland. This break-off is of huge concern as it could speed up the loss of more ice from the continent. If this becomes a continuous thing, it will eventually expose the barrier to risk which prevents the land-based ice in the mainland from flowing into the sea.
This whole event took place at the Pine Island Glacier which is located in West Antarctica. This particular island has been one of the largest contributors to the rise in the sea level around the continent. The reason behind this accelerated increase in the sea water level is the rapid loss of the ice from this island over the past 40 years. In the year 2015, a 224-square-mile iceberg detached from the glacier. The same trend was seen again this year with this huge chunk separating from the iceberg.
The size of the latest cleavage which was photographed by satellites over the weekend shows an iceberg about 103 square miles in area detached from the island. According to Stef Lhermitte, a satellite observation specialist at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, this was the fifth big calving event since the year 2000 which might be a significant indication towards the impending dangers of global climatic change. The break-off from the floating portion of the glacier doesn’t necessarily raise the sea levels. Think of these as ice-cubes within a glass of water which don’t change the water level when they melt. The negative aspect of these chunks breaking up is the exposure of land-based ice which can increase the sea-water level. These floating ice shelves create a barrier which keeps the ice in the land from flowing into the sea water. As the fence is breaking off, the extra water from the area could contribute to a rise in the water level of seas and oceans. The Pine Island Glacier alone can affect the height of the sea level by a rise of 1.7 feet if it melts. This is the prime reason; scientists have been showing a keen interest in the fate of this island and its overall impact.
Icebergs’ calving off Antarctica is natural scenery, but there is something unusual about the ice that broke off Pine Island Glacier. This latest separation of an iceberg from the island happened at the center of the ice shelf rather than the sides. Scientists speculate that the separation resulted from warmer ocean waters eating away the ice from beneath and weakening of the glacier. According to the Washington Post, a follow-up of the recent break-offs shows that the glacier is retreating. The whole of West Antarctica could be the cause of a rise in sea water level rise by 10 feet which needs to be continuously monitored. If this continues, cities like New York and Miami are sure to be affected harshly.

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