Giant Iceberg Twice the Size of NYC Breaks Off Ice Shelf in Antarctica

While the sheer magnitude of the iceberg has some wondering if they should be concerned, experts have chimed in to confirm that this break was expected.

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As expected, a behemothic iceberg roughly twice the size of New York City has broken off in Antarctica.

As NASA Earth Observatory made clear earlier this week, however, this isn’t actually a cause for concern. In fact, as British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Dominic Hodgson said, there is no link between this iceberg and the ongoing (and increasingly dire) issue of climate change.

“This calving event has been expected and is part of the natural [behavior] of the Brunt Ice Shelf,” Hodgson said in a news release. “It is not linked to climate change.”

Regardless, the iceberg—formally known as Iceberg A-81—is a feat to behold. The break from the heavily monitored Brunt Ice Shelf was observed on Jan. 22, resulting in the 600-square-mile iceberg that’s been careening in and out of headlines ever since.

Signs of this imminent ice event date back several years, with NASA having shared a “countdown to calving” explainer back in 2019 in which photos of the Brunt Ice Shelf from 1986 and 2019, respectively, were compared. This comparison resulted in the determination that the cracks were quickening their pace of acceleration, meaning this week’s break had been expected for quite some time.

These changes inspired a move of the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Station back in 2016. As of this week, BAS said, 21 workers were at the station and were expected to continue with their duties until early next month.

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