Trillion ton iceberg prepares to break off Antarctica

World Today

Scientists say another alarm bell has rung for climate change. A Trillion ton iceberg is about to break off Antarctica.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

A chunk of ice nearly as big as Shanghai may break off of Antarctica at any moment.

The European Space Agency is using a satellite to monitor the Larsen C Ice formation. A 200 kilometer long crack in the sheet of ice has deepened and is ready to give way entirely, launching one of the largest icebergs on record into the ocean.

Researchers say it’s a result of a changing climate that is altering the polar environments.

“As you can see the glacier no longer ends in the sea, now we have beach. Twenty or 30 years ago those beaches didn’t exist, the glacier was falling directly to the sea. In other words there has been a glacial retreat, probably a consequence of the climate change and the rise of temperature in this region.”, said Rodolfo Sanchez the Director of the Argentine Antarctic Institute

The environment at the North and South poles is changing rapidly and impacting the global climate. The world’s polar ice caps are shrinking little by little. The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with Greenland’s glaciers receding particularly quickly.

This process is speeding up, all by itself. Melting snow exposes ice underneath, which then absorbs the sun’s rays and leads to more thawing.

At the opposite end of the earth, 90 percent of the ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula are starting to disintegrate. Ice melt is also being observed in mountain ranges, like the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro, the Alps and Pyrenees. In the Andes, glaciers are retreating and risk disappearing altogether.

Ocean levels are rising, due to the combination of melting ice and warmer sea temperatures as warm water has a greater volume than cold water. At the current rate, scientists predict that by 2100, sea levels will rise between 26 centimeters and one meter. Islands in the Pacific or Indian Oceans, like the Maldives, will be submerged.

Densely populated, low lying coastal areas like Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Netherlands and the east coast of the United States are all under threat.