A giant iceberg broke off the floating ice shelf in Antarctica, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) organization announced. The iceberg, with an area of 1,270 square kilometers (almost like the extension of Rome, 1,300 sq km), was part of the Brunt ice shelf, 150 meters thick and located along the northwestern coast of the continent. There, the British researchers add, a stable fracture had existed for nearly four decades; in recent years it has begun to advance northward at a rate of four kilometers per year, and at a rate of one kilometer per day in January 2021. The ice giant crashed into the sea not far from the permanent Halley VI base. The 12-member research team had already left the station earlier this month due to the impending winter.
The phenomenon that technically occurred is called calving and was widely expected by scientists, given that a new rift had already opened in the Brunt platform in November 2020, the third in the last decade. It was renamed the North Rift and in February it gained up to one kilometer a day, breaking through a layer of ice that is 150 meters thick. Until the actual detachment of the iceberg, which took place on Friday morning. A scientific challenge in extreme conditions. Observing a phenomenon of this caliber, in such an extreme environment, is also a scientific challenge. Researchers monitor the platform daily using a combination of high-precision GPS tools and satellite imagery. “All the data is then sent back to Cambridge for analysis, so we know what is happening even during the Antarctic winter, when there is no staff on the base, darkness is total and the temperature drops below -50. degrees centigrade ”, underlines Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Atlantic survey. At the moment it is not possible to predict the path of the iceberg in the coming months; it could move away or remain near the pack ice.
This is a wake-up call for all people who live or who want to continue living on a healthy planet, this detachment of the iceberg is not a problem to be taken lightly given its consequences. The problems that would arise would be the reduction of an entire ecosystem and the ever smaller space for local fauna