A massive iceberg has broken off in Antarctica. The approximately 1550 square kilometers - almost the size of the city of London and its outskirts - large blocks of ice broke away from the so-called Brunt ice shelf in Antarctica last Sunday during a spring tide, according to the polar research organization British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
"We expected this splitting, it's part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It's not related to climate change," BAS glaciologist Dominic Hodgson said in a statement. On the other hand, researchers linked the break-off of an approximately 1,200-square-kilometer iceberg last year with global warming, since the melting of the sea ice has accelerated significantly due to higher temperatures. The fissure in the ice sheet, which even had a name with "Chasm-1", was discovered by researchers years ago. Over the years it increased in size until the chunk of ice broke away.
The British Antarctic Society operates a research station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. As a precautionary measure, this was moved a good 20 kilometers further inland in 2016 so that it would not be endangered in the event of demolitions such as those recently observed. From November to March - in the Antarctic summer - glacier researchers are on site. In the remaining months, the region will be observed using satellite images from the space organizations Esa, Nasa and the German satellite "TerraSAR-X". The giant iceberg, which is now expected to drift along the Antarctic coastal current like its predecessor, is yet to be named by the US National Ice Center. The British glacier researchers want to continue to monitor the Brocken. The Brunt Ice Shelf is the most closely monitored ice shelf on Earth, according to the British Antarctic Survey.