A giant section of LarsenC ice shelf has broken free, releasing a 5000 sq km iceberg into the Weddell Sea.
That’s the same size as Trinidad and Tobago.
The behemoth iceberg weighs more than a million million tonnes
and contains about the same amount of water as Lake Ontario in North America.
Witnessed by the Copernicus Sentinel-1mission, the iceberg, born out of Larsen C ice shelf, is the biggest recorded so far.
Scientists from Project MIDAS used radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission to keep a close eye on the rapidly changing situation.
The fissure first appeared several years ago but seemed relatively stable until January 2016.
In January 2017 alone it traveled 20 km, reaching a total length of about 175 km.
It will not itself result in sea level rises.
Much like and ice cube melting in a glass of water, it is already floating and if it melts it doesn’t change the sea level.
But the shelf is an essential barrier, holding back the glaciers that feed it.
Without it, ice would flow rapidly from land to sea.
If the Antarctic ice shelves were to fully melt, the rise in sea level could be devastating.