WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A big chunk of ice twice the size of Washington D.C has finally split off the Pine Island Glacier, a process which was initially seen October last year.
- NASA reports these will frequently occur as scientists fear that Pine Island and the nearby ‘doomsday’ glacier, Thwaites, may face inevitable collapse.
- Antarctica set a record high in temperature last week, reaching 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Pine Island Glacier is considered one of the fastest-shrinking glaciers in Antarctica.
A glacier in Antarctica had reduced in size when an enormous portion of ice sank into the sea.
Pine Island in Antarctica is continuously shrinking and in the last decade, it has been a disturbing event for almost every year.
It was in October of last year when the scientists at Copernicus, Earth observatory program of the European Union, first saw huge cracks near glacier’s boundaries.
The cracks, which researchers have been monitoring since it first occurred, has finally broken off yesterday, moving icebergs that are twice the area of Washington DC toward the adjacent Amundsen Sea.
According to the Washington Post, the estimated size area of the iceberg was more than 350 square kilometers or 130 square miles.
The breaking away of the bulk of ice from a glacier is what scientists call a calving process.
Scientists at the Earth Observatory of NASA believes that this recent development in Antarctica is only a typical occurrence as calving usually happens on floating ice formations. NASA added that there is no cause for alarm since the ice sinking will not contribute that much on the sea levels worldwide, also noting that these chunks are already floating on the sea anyway.
NASA also reported that the calving process typically ensues every four to six years in Pine Island Glacier. They observed, however, that in the last ten years, large portions of the glaciers have chipped off for around every two years only.
NASA earlier reported that the surrounding section of Pine Island Glacier, as well as the Thwaites Glacier, called the doomsday glacier, has sufficient “highly vulnerable ice” to add 4 feet to the current ocean level.
As per observations by scientists, Pine Island and Thwaites are two of the fastest-receding glaciers on the whole island. Researchers lately described the water under the Thwaites Glacier is over 2 degrees above the average of the freezing temperature.
In the past 30 years, the volume of ice flowing out of Thwaites and its neighboring glaciers has practically doubled in ratio.
Meanwhile, Antarctica’s 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) reading last week, Feb.6, was noted by the World Meteorological Organization as the hottest temperature in recorded history.
The last temperature peak was recorded five years ago at 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 C).