A giant part or slab of ice has calved from the frozen edge of Antarctica into the Weddell Sea, making it the largest iceberg afloat in the world. Its size is considered four times the size of NYC and 80 times the size of Manhattan.
The shape of the iceberg is described as a giant iron board. The surface area of the iceberg is 4,320 sq km, with 175 km length and 25 km width.
The European Space Agency informed on Wednesday that the ice berg broke off the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. This newly calved ice berg has been named A-76 by scientists. It was spotted in the satellite image captured by Copernicus Sentinel-1 Mission. The agency also shared the images on its website.
Meet the new cool kid on the iceberg block: the recently calved #A76 is now the biggest iceberg in the world!
— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) May 19, 2021
The ESA said that the iceberg was first spotted by Keith Makinson, who is a polar oceanographer last week, and the satellite images confirmed the creation of the new iceberg. Makinson has also shared the image of A-76 iceberg on his social media.
This newly calved A-76 ice berg has become the largest existing iceberg on planet. Before A-76, the rank was taken by A-23A with an area of 3,380 sq km, floating in the Weddell Sea.
— Keith Makinson (@KeithMakinson1) May 13, 2021
The Ronne Ice Shelf is one of the largest enormous ice sheets connecting to the landmass of the continent, which is extended to the seas. The separation of ice berg took place over past few days. As told by Ted Scambos, a research glaciologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, this incident is not linked climate change, instead it is believed to be a part of natural cycle of ice calving in the region.
Scambos said that the Ronne Ice Shelf, and the other ice sheets have “behaved in a stable, quasi-periodic fashion over the past century or more. Because the ice was already floating in the sea before dislodging from the coast, its break-away does not raise ocean levels.” This is to say, even if the ice berg melts, it will not increase the sea level and create an alarming situation, given its enormous size.
The iceberg is now officially known as A-76, which just like other ice bergs, is named after the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted.