Climate change continues to affect Antarctica as glaciers made at an accelerated pace. The Pine Island Glacier is one of those that shrink at an impressive speed, and an iceberg broke off recently, proving that the trend continues to become more intense.
A team of European researchers has monitored the glacier since massive cracks were detected near the age in October 2019. The cracks have led to a calving event, and an iceberg that is twice as big as Washington D.C. ( it is estimated that it is more significant than 130 square miles or 350 square kilometers) is now floating in the Amundsen Sea according to a reliable news outlet.
Calving events aren’t impressive on their own since they are often associated with massive agglomerations of ice. In this case, the ice was at the edge of the glacier and already floating, which means that it will not lead to a rise of the sea level when it melts.
Pine Island Glacier releases a massive iceberg
In the past two decades, calving events have been encountered more often in the case of massive glaciers like Pine Island and Thwaites as the ocean which surrounds continues to become warmer due to global warming. In the past, Pine Island Glacier was affected by a calving event once every four to six years, but the rate is so high that the phenomenon takes place annually.
This means that the Pine Island and Thwaites are retreating faster the speed at which new ice appears, and it is believed that the phenomenon signals an aggressive melting cycle. It is also worth pointing out that the most recent calving event took place a few days after researchers announced the highest temperature recorded in Antarctica since measurements are taken.
The new maximum is 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit or 18.3 degrees Celsius, according to the World Meteorological Organization. While further research will take place, the current predictions are quite grim.