While the United States continues to stand by its decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the real-world effects of climate change are accelerating at an alarming rate. This is especially the case in Antarctica, where the rising occurrence of lakes and steadily warming temperatures are causing massive cracks to form throughout the continent’s massive ice sheet. Like the Larsen C ice shelf, where a 120-mile crack that developed over several years recently resulted in a monstrously large iceberg weighing over a trillion tons.
According to the New York Times, the crack along the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice sheet began in November 2010 and continued its northern progression through May 31st of this year, when it finally circled back toward the Weddell Sea. Adrian Luckman, lead researcher with Swansea University and Aberystwyth University’s Project Midas, told the Times “[t]he remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size,” thereby forever altering the peninsula’s physical geography. “This is a big change,” he added. “Maps will need to be redrawn.”
Aside from redrawing maps, however, the Delaware-sized iceberg’s existence also poses a possible threat to nearby shipping lanes and other seafaring efforts, though scientists aren’t entirely sure what to expect. “We are not sure what will happen,” University of Leeds researcher Anna Hogg told the European Space Agency, whose satellites are monitoring Larsen C’s progress. “It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after. Whole or in pieces, ocean currents could drag it north, even as far as the Falkland Islands. If so it could pose a hazard for ships in Drake Passage.”