Billion-ton iceberg adrift in Antarctica ‘not due to climate change’
Tuesday, 01 October 2019
An iceberg roughly 15 times the size of Paris broke off of Antarctica at the end of September. Credit: Pixabay
The detachment of an iceberg that is 15 times the size of Paris from mainland Antarctica is a natural process and is not due to climate change, an American glaciologist said.
Scientists have observed an Antarctic iceberg fifteen times the size of Paris that detached itself a few days ago, but the event is seen as part of the normal polar-ice cycle, they said.
“It is really important to avoid confusing the general public, it is not due to climate change,” American glaciologist Helen Amanda Fricker said.
The iceberg, dubbed D28, measures 1,582 km², according to the European Copernicus programme.
It detached itself from the Amery Ice Shelf, on the east of the continent, some time between 24 and 25 September, according to observations of Nasa and European satellites.
Fricker said the iceberg, which she estimated to be made up of 315 billion tonnes of ice and around 210 metres thick, detached itself as part of the normal ice-shelf cycle, which are extensions of the polar ice sheet over the water.
“Ice shelves must lose mass because they are constantly gaining it. They try to maintain their size,” Fricker, a professor in the Scripps Oceanography Center at the University of California San Diego, told the AFP.
“The polar ice has to lose mass, it’s normal,” Fricker said, adding that the gain in mass stems from snow that falls on the continent and the glaciers (rivers of ice) that gradually advance towards the shoreline.
“It is really important to avoid confusing the general public, it is not due to climate change,” the glaciologist said, referring to an episode of panic sparked by the detachment of an iceberg three times bigger two years ago.
“It’s a tricky thing to explain, because we don’t want people believing that climate change is not happening. But this event is not a sign of climate change,” Fricker said.