315-Billion-Ton D-28 Iceberg Breaks Off From Antarctic Ice Shelf

The massive iceberg broke away from the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica late last week

The 315-Billion-Ton D-28 Iceberg Broke Off From the Antarctic Ice Shelf
Icebergs near Antartica. (Emiliano Lasalvia/NurPhoto via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / October 1, 2019 12:13 pm

The bad news, at least for worldwide shipping, is that there is now a 315-billion-ton iceberg floating around in the ocean which has the potential to be a massive nuisance for importers and exporters.

The good news for the world is that the D-28 iceberg breaking off from the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica late last week had nothing to do with climate change, according to researchers.

“It’s part of the ice shelf’s normal cycle, where we see major calving events every 60 to 70 years,” Helen Amanda Fricker, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told The Australian.

The largest iceberg to separate from Amery shelf since 1963, D-28 measures 3,475 square miles in area, is 689 feet thick and weighs 315 billion tons.

Sea levels are not expected to be impacted by the big break. “They [ice shelves] do not directly affect sea level because ice shelves are already floating, much like an ice cube in a glass of water,” the Scripps Institution of Oceanography wrote on Twitter. “Grounded ice is the concern for sea-level rise.”

Due to D-28’s size, researchers will continue to track the iceberg’s movement to make sure it isn’t a threat to shippers. It is currently drifting westwards as ocean currents and winds propel it.

“I am excited to see this calving event after all these years. We knew it would happen eventually, but just to keep us all on our toes, it is not exactly where we expected it to be,” Fricker said.

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