Is the breakaway of the Larsen C Iceberg normal?

Question:
my question:
Fact: A massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica
Speculation: Global Warming

My Question: In 1911 – the Titanic sank due to icebergs in the shipping lanes – was this Global Warming? Probably not?
Speculation: It seems icebergs break away are normal

 

Asked by Greg,

 

Hi Greg,

You are completely right that iceberg calving is a completely normal process in Antarctica. Antarctica loses about 1089 Gt of ice per year through calving icebergs – exceeded only by basal melt.

This iceberg is unusually large, but we cannot attribute its calving event directly to climate change. We could only do this if we saw a sustained increase or change in calving behaviour over a long period of time, and were able to exclude dynamic factors that can cause changes in calving behaviour.

We are concerned that the calving of the iceberg might destablise Larsen C Ice Shelf and make it more vulnerable however – more information here.

About

I am a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Univeristy, specialising in glaciology and glacial geology. I wrote and developed the AntarcticGlaciers.org website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact. Read more about me at www.antarcticglaciers.org/bethan-davies.

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