An iceberg, which is over four times the size of Manhattan, in New York City, has broken free of Antarctica, becoming the second huge piece to break from the southernmost continent in 2017.
This new iceberg does not match the size of the first, but is one more worrisome sign for the planet’s future, said scientists studying the floating piece of ice.
Images from a satellite dated on September 23 showed an iceberg that was 100-square miles in size breaking off Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier.
This glacier is the continent’s fastest melting and is responsible for more than 25% of the loss of ice in Antarctica, which is equal to approximately 45 billion tons of ice each year.
The newly broken free iceberg was first spotted during February of this year and appears to be unstable with smaller piece of ice breaking from it as it slowing drifts out to sea.
However, the Pine Island Glacier is attracting attention not only because of the huge new iceberg that has broken off, but also due to melting in such a unique manner.
Whole other areas of Antarctica had and continue to see breaks at their sides; the Pine Island Glacier’s cracks are found in its center and appear as if they are forming below the ice.
Scientists believe that the unusual behavior might be from the ocean water that is warmer than the ice, which could be the reason as well why rifts have formed more often than before.
If this were to continue, scientists said that one result that is quite possible would be an increase in the levels of the oceans, with the complete main trunk of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier possibly breaking free over the next century.
Scientists have been divided over why a massive volume of ice had broken free. There have been many saying that the only cause was from rapid global warming, but scientists believe it is far too early and too convenient to place all the blame on the break from the ice shelf on just climate change.
Calving is natural for icebergs, and researchers have said that melting icebergs are actually helpful in slowing down negative effects seen from global warming, as it caused water nutrients to improve that helps create plankton blooms.