Main image via BBC + Sky News
If you’re one of those who still have difficulty in believing that climate change is real, or if you know someone who does, we’ve got news for you.
The world’s biggest iceberg on record has almost completely melted away.
Image via BBC
Known as A68, the massive iceberg first broke away from Antartica in 2017.
When it first detached itself from the Larson C Ice Shelf on the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, the iceberg covered an area of nearly 6,000 sq km.
The A68 was initially static but after a year or so, the strong currents and winds begin to propel the iceberg into the South Atlantic, towards the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia.
Though big icebergs have been known to get caught in the shallow waters of the small island and gradually melt, the warm water and higher air temperatures in the Atlantic caused the A68 to melt away until it eventually shattered into small fragements.
As the giant iceberg that was formerly solid mass, has melted to the point that it is now in so many fragments, the US National Ice Center (USNIC) – which names and tracks icebergs; has decided that it is no longer worth tracking.
The A68 fell off the USNIC’s list of concerns after the iceberg’s last major piece – known as the A68a, measured in at three nautical miles by two nautical miles on 16th April.
To be on the organisation’s list of concerns, an iceberg has to have a long-axis of greater than 10 nautical miles (18.5km) or an area of at least 20 square nautical miles (68.5 sq km).
Image via Sky News
Speaking to BBC News, Adrian Luckman from Swansea University shared that it was “amazing” that the A68 managed to last as long as it did.
“If you think about the thickness ratio – it’s like four pieces of A4 paper stacked up on top of one another,” he said. “So this thing is incredibly flexible and fragile as it moved around the ocean. It lasted for years like that. But it eventually broke into four-to-five pieces and then those broke up as well.”
The A68 has gained much attention on social media over the past years. Thanks to space data tools, users were allowed to track the iceberg’s progress as it travelled through the ocean.
Laura Gerrish, a mapping specialist with the British Antartic Survey (BAS) shared that the iceberg had “caught the attention of a lot of different people.”
“We saw every little twist and turn,” she said. “We were able to follow its progress with daily satellite images, at a level of detail we’ve not really been able to do before.”
Hopefully, the world’s largest iceberg’s melting will help people to take the issue of climate change more seriously.
Farewell A68. We hope you didn’t melt in vain.
Info via UNILAD