Media gets high on Antarctic Crack

I thought I’d take a moment from my R&R to write about all the hullabaloo surrounding the calving of the large iceberg off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. First, a few of the headlines:

LA Times: After Antarctica sheds a trillion-ton block of ice, the world asks: Now what?

The Grauniad: Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

NYT: Warnings from Antarctica

Each of these stories has dire warnings in it about warming and climate change, I found this quote from NYT to be most telling:

Talk to scientists who have worked in the Arctic, Antarctic or the world’s glacial zones for decades, and what they keep coming back to is that they have witnessed

monumental physical changes in these once-frozen regions within their professional lifetimes.

So what? There weren’t any “Arctic or Antarctic scientists” a mere half-decade ago, and bases weren’t even established until World War II followed by a hectic post-war expansion:

Bases were established during February (1944) near the abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Deception Island, where the Union Flag was hoisted in place of Argentine flags, and at Port Lockroy (on February 11) on the coast of Graham Land. A further base was founded at Hope Bay on February 13, 1945, after a failed attempt to unload stores on February 7, 1944. These bases were the first ever to be constructed on the mainland Antarctica.[10]

The Operation provoked a massive expansion in international activity after the war. Chile organized its First Chilean Antarctic Expedition in 1947–48. Among other accomplishments, it brought the Chilean president Gabriel González Videla to personally inaugurate one of its bases, thereby becoming the first head of state to set foot on the continent.[11] Signy Research Station (UK) was established in 1947, Australia’s Mawson Station in 1954, Dumont d’Urville Station was the first French station in 1956. In the same year McMurdo Station was built by the United States and the Mirny Station was established by the Soviet Union.

And, our record of observing Antarctica by satellite only extends back to 1979, as shown by this graph from NASA up to March 2017:

Antarctic Sea-ice extent from 1979 to March 2017. Credits: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

So basically, we’ve got about the length of a scientific career’s worth of observing actual data from Antarctica, and from NYT, we get history lessons:

The ice shelf has been floating in the frigid waters on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula for at least 10,000 years.

OK, so what was there before? No Antarctic ice shelf due to a warmer climate then?

How many icebergs the size of Delaware or Luxemborg (neither of which existed 10k years ago) broke off in that time that we never observed? They don’t know.

Just because we can see changes happening on the most remote region of our planet in exquisite detail for the first time in the history of mankind doesn’t necessarily mean those changes are unprecedented. The media has this odd viewpoint that Earth’s processes act over human lifetimes, but in reality they act over millennia.

I can’t get too worked up about this, even though the usual suspects are. Back to R&R, Ta – Anthony

P.S. Be sure to read the quote in my bold below, from Swansea’s Dr Martin O’Leary.

This is the rift in the Larsen C -0 aerial view. Credit: John Sonntag/NASA.

The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through


July 12, 2017 – A one trillion tonne iceberg – one of the biggest ever recorded — has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice, monitored by the Swansea University-led MIDAS project, finally completed its path through the ice.

The calving occurred sometime between Monday 10th July and Wednesday 12th July, when a 5,800 square km section of Larsen C finally broke away.

The final breakthrough was detected in data from NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite instrument, which images in the thermal infrared at a resolution of 1km.

  • The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, weighs more than a trillion tonnes.
  • Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes.

The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tonnes (1,000,000,000,000 metric tonnes), but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level. The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12%, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever.

The development of the rift over the last year was monitored using data from the European Space Agency Sentinel-1 satellites — part of the European Copernicus Space Component. Sentinel-1 is a radar imaging system capable of acquiring images regardless of cloud cover, and throughout the current winter period of polar darkness. The detachment of the iceberg was first revealed in a thermal infrared image from NASA’s MODIS instrument, which is also able to acquire data in the Antarctic winter when cloud cover permits.

This is a map showing detachment of iceberg, based on data from NASA’s Aqua Modis satellite. July 12, 2017. Credit: MIDAS Project, Swansea University.

Although the remaining ice shelf will continue naturally to regrow, Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift. There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbour, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995.

Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, lead investigator of the MIDAS project, said:

“We have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometres of ice. We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg.

The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict. It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters.

The recent development in satellite systems such as Sentinel-1 and MODIS has vastly improved our ability to monitor events such as this.”

The Larsen C Ice Shelf, which has a thickness of between 200 and 600 metres, floats on the ocean at the edge of The Antarctic Peninsula, holding back the flow of glaciers that feed into it.

Researchers from the MIDAS Project have been monitoring the rift in Larsen C for many years, following the collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and the sudden break-up of the Larsen B shelf in 2002. They reported rapid advances of the rift in January, May and June, which increased its length to over 200 km and left the iceberg hanging on by a thread of ice just 4.5 km (2.8 miles) wide.

The team monitored the earlier development of the rift using a technique called satellite radar interferometry (SRI) applied to ESA Sentinel-1 images. While the rift is only visible in radar images when it is more than 50m wide, by combining pairs of images, SRI allows the impact of very small changes in ice shelf geometry to be detected, and the rift tip to be monitored precisely.

Dr Martin O’Leary, a Swansea University glaciologist and member of the MIDAS project team, said of the recent calving:

“Although this is a natural event, and we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position. This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history. We’re going to be watching very carefully for signs that the rest of the shelf is becoming unstable.”

Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University added:

“In the ensuing months and years, the ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may suffer further calving events which may eventually lead to collapse – opinions in the scientific community are divided. Our models say it will be less stable, but any future collapse remains years or decades away.”

Whilst this new iceberg will not immediately raise sea levels, if the shelf loses much more of its area, it could result in glaciers that flow off the land behind speeding up their passage towards the ocean. This non-floating ice would have an eventual impact on sea levels, but only at a very modest rate.


Massive iceberg breaks off from Antarctica


An iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12. The calving of the massive new iceberg was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and confirmed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite. The final breakage was first reported by Project Midas, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom.

Larsen C, a floating platform of glacial ice on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, is the fourth largest ice shelf ringing Earth’s southernmost continent. In 2014, a crack that had been slowly growing into the ice shelf for decades suddenly started to spread northwards, creating the nascent iceberg. Now that the close to 2,240 square-mile (5,800 square kilometers) chunk of ice has broken away, the Larsen C shelf area has shrunk by approximately 10 percent.

“The interesting thing is what happens next, how the remaining ice shelf responds,” said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland in College Park. “Will the ice shelf weaken? Or possibly collapse, like its neighbors Larsen A and B? Will the glaciers behind the ice shelf accelerate and have a direct contribution to sea level rise? Or is this just a normal calving event?”

Ice shelves fringe 75 percent of the Antarctic ice sheet. One way to assess the health of ice sheets is to look at their balance: when an ice sheet is in balance, the ice gained through snowfall equals the ice lost through melting and iceberg calving. Even relatively large calving events, where tabular ice chunks the size of Manhattan or bigger calve from the seaward front of the shelf, can be considered normal if the ice sheet is in overall balance. But sometimes ice sheets destabilize, either through the loss of a particularly big iceberg or through disintegration of an ice shelf, such as that of the Larsen A Ice Shelf in 1995 and the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. When floating ice shelves disintegrate, they reduce the resistance to glacial flow and thus allow the grounded glaciers they were buttressing to significantly dump more ice into the ocean, raising sea levels.

Scientists have monitored the progression of the rift throughout the last year was using data from the European Space Agency Sentinel-1 satellites and thermal imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 spacecraft. Over the next months and years, researchers will monitor the response of Larsen C, and the glaciers that flow into it, through the use of satellite imagery, airborne surveys, automated geophysical instruments and associated field work.

In the case of this rift, scientists were worried about the possible loss of a pinning point that helped keep Larsen C stable. In a shallow part of the sea floor underneath the ice shelf, a bedrock protrusion, named the Bawden Ice Rise, has served as an anchor point for the floating shelf for many decades. Ultimately, the rift stopped short of separating from the protrusion.

“The remaining 90 percent of the ice shelf continues to be held in place by two pinning points: the Bawden Ice Rise to the north of the rift and the Gipps Ice Rise to the south,” said Chris Shuman, a glaciologist with Goddard and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. “So I just don’t see any near-term signs that this calving event is going to lead to the collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf. But we will be watching closely for signs of further changes across the area.”

The first available images of Larsen C are airborne photographs from the 1960s and an image from a US satellite captured in 1963. The rift that has produced the new iceberg was already identifiable in those pictures, along with a dozen other fractures. The crack remained dormant for decades, stuck in a section of the ice shelf called a suture zone, an area where glaciers flowing into the ice shelf come together. Suture zones are complex and more heterogeneous than the rest of the ice shelf, containing ice with different properties and mechanical strengths, and therefore play an important role in controlling the rate at which rifts grow. In 2014, however, this particular crack started to rapidly grow and traverse the suture zones, leaving scientists perplexed.

“We don’t currently know what changed in 2014 that allowed this rift to push through the suture zone and propagate into the main body of the ice shelf,” said Dan McGrath, a glaciologist at Colorado State University who has been studying the Larsen C ice shelf since 2008.

McGrath said the growth of the crack, given our current understanding, is not directly linked to climate change.

“The Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the fastest warming places on the planet throughout the latter half of the 20th century. This warming has driven really profound environmental changes, including the collapse of Larsen A and B,” McGrath said. “But with the rift on Larsen C, we haven’t made a direct connection with the warming climate. Still, there are definitely mechanisms by which this rift could be linked to climate change, most notably through warmer ocean waters eating away at the base of the shelf.”

While the crack was growing, scientists had a hard time predicting when the nascent iceberg would break away. It’s difficult because there are not enough measurements available on either the forces acting on the rift or the composition of the ice shelf. Further, other poorly observed external factors, such as temperatures, winds, waves and ocean currents, might play an important role in rift growth. Still, this event has provided an important opportunity for researchers to study how ice shelves fracture, with important implications for other ice shelves.

Massive iceberg breaks off from Antarctica NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
This is an animation of the growth of the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, from 2006 to 2017, as recorded by NASA/USGS Landsat satellites. CREDIT NASA/USGS Landsat

The U.S. National Ice Center will monitor the trajectory of the new iceberg, which is likely to be named A-68. The currents around Antarctica generally dictate the path that the icebergs follow. In this case, the new berg is likely to follow a similar path to the icebergs produced by the collapse of Larsen B: north along the coast of the Peninsula, then northeast into the South Atlantic.

“It’s very unlikely it will cause any trouble for navigation,” Brunt said.


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John MacDonald
July 13, 2017 7:16 am

Thanks Anthony. Agreed.
These days, the only icebergs you should worry about come with little umbrellas.

Reply to  John MacDonald
July 13, 2017 8:49 am

Can this iceberg save the world?
At the very least, it will be good for Southern Ocean fish stocks.

Bryan A
Reply to  vboring
July 13, 2017 10:14 am

And what exactly would happen if the Ice didn’t break off and eventually float away to warmer waters and melt?
The ice would spread to South America and Global circum navigation would only happen through the Panama Canal.

Bryan A
Reply to  vboring
July 13, 2017 2:23 pm

Bright sides:
The crack has stopped!
The Ice is still there!
The new Berg hasn’t traveled more than 300′!
Sea levels didn’t rise because of it!
Sea levals won’t rise because of it!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  vboring
July 13, 2017 2:30 pm

Bryan A- I think maybe the the ice should have calved in smaller bergs but cooler temps and snowfall kept that from happening. The glaciers will most likely speed up from the increased snowpack of the recent 5 year period. The ice which is floating at the end of the glacier does not slow down it’s flow, so how could calving do anything but expose a new area to the surf?

john harmsworth
Reply to  vboring
July 13, 2017 3:38 pm

What do they mean, “it will have no IMMEDIATE IMPACT on sea levels”/ It will NEVER have any impact on sea levels! Idiots!

Bryan A
Reply to  vboring
July 13, 2017 9:41 pm

Until the berg travels a certain distance from the sheet, the surf will have no effect on the remainder shelf

July 13, 2017 7:20 am

I saw this remarkably good article on this topic from the BBC, no sign of the usual cries of impending doom:

Reply to  Philip
July 13, 2017 7:49 am

Most people have ‘chilled’ on this one as the realisation finally sinks in following the misplaced hysterics of Larsen A and B that ice shelves do that. That is to say they are transient features. That isn’t going to stop the usual crazies in the MSM from gibbering like idiots though. Encouraging that the beeb have decided to drop the hysterics for once though and perhaps it’s a sign of them beginning to hedge their bets.

Iain Russell
Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 9:38 am

They have been hedging their bets for some time now. I watched a BBC programme say two years back on a French town which was suffering badly from the wind farm near it, which powered another village. The Beeb was actually open to the idea that these were real agonies rather than Big Coal/Carbon funded imaginary agonies.

Ian Johnson
Reply to  Philip
July 13, 2017 9:02 am

Maybe no cry of impending doom, but I find this of interest from the article. In 1956, it was reported that a US Navy icebreaker had encountered an object of roughly 32,000 sq km. That is bigger than Belgium. Unfortunately, there were no satellites at the time to follow up and verify the observation. In other words, because it doesn’t fit the AGW theme, the word of an icebreaker captain isn’t to be taken seriously.

Reply to  Ian Johnson
July 13, 2017 9:34 am

Yes, on BBC News, Amos played down “global warming” as a cause, despite being given every opportunity to say it was.

Reply to  Ian Johnson
July 13, 2017 10:25 am

Here is a newspaper saying that the NAVY ICEBREAKER saw the massive Iceberg, thus it did exist and was massive.
Somehow the planet didn’t notice it enough to spawn something really bad.

Reply to  Philip
July 13, 2017 9:31 am

Yes, on BBC

Reply to  Philip
July 13, 2017 10:23 am

Even the BBC World Service, usually Global Warming Central, only broadcast a scientist who said it was just business as usual. They’re so obsessed with finding Trump guilty of something, maybe they’ve taken their eye off the climate ball.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  climanrecon
July 13, 2017 10:53 am

I heard that on BBC World News, as well. I think they asked an ‘expert’ who wasn’t going to be pushed into saying anything she didn’t agree with. Very refreshing. You don’t remember her name, by chance?

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  Philip
July 13, 2017 3:22 pm

The article is by BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos who tends to be considerably less hyperbolic than his BBC colleagues Harrabin and McGrath. It is worth quoting one passage.

But Larsen C today does not look like its siblings. Prof Helen Fricker, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told BBC News: “The signs we saw at Larsen A and B – we’re not seeing yet. The thinning we saw for Larsen A and B – we’re not seeing. And we’re not seeing any evidence for large volumes of surface meltwater on the order of what you would need to hydro-fracture the ice shelf.
“Most glaciologists are not particularly alarmed by what’s going on at Larsen C, yet. It’s business as usual.”

July 13, 2017 7:20 am

Extreme environmentalists believe that the earth was static and perfect prior to the arrival of man.
Any change must be caused by man and is by definition bad.

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2017 10:15 am

What you say it true. I suppose the next thing is that they’ll say everything about the Earth, especially the climate, was perfect until Adam and Eve hopped into their Ford F-350 diesel pickup and fled the Garden of Eden. Oh wait, that sounds a bit religious and the only religion the environazis believe in is Marxism.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Allencic
July 13, 2017 3:53 pm

Somewhere out there are two people named Adam and Eve who own an F-350 diesel. I just want you to be aware of that.

Reply to  Allencic
July 16, 2017 5:51 am

I thought gawd drove them out in his Fury?

July 13, 2017 7:22 am

one of the biggest ever recorded….face palm
Even their animation shows it moving….

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Latitude
July 13, 2017 7:29 am

And not the largest one, either.

Reply to  Steve Fraser
July 13, 2017 7:41 am

No….they are supposed to keep growing until they take over the world…… /snark
What is really amazing is that it got as big as it did….

Janice Moore
July 13, 2017 7:24 am

1. Great title, Anthony.
2. Re:

McGrath said the growth of the crack, given our current understanding, is not directly linked to climate change.

“Climate change” (defined in the common parlance as: “a human CO2/other emissions-caused, significant, shift in the climate zones of the earth”) has not been proven (nor has even significant-shift “climate change” from ANY cause been proven so far), so, talking about “links” to it is like talking about whether the White Rabbit’s hole leads to Wonderland or not.
3. Good to hear from you from “somewhere in the Pacific,” Anthony, but, don’t do it again! Enjoy that vacation. 🙂

john harmsworth
Reply to  Janice Moore
July 13, 2017 3:55 pm

I would say that it will probably have an effect on it’s own local climate. So, really, it is climate change not caused by climate change! Wrap your noggin around that!

July 13, 2017 7:24 am

A lot of fuss about nothing.
Top up your G&T Anthony, the ice is arriving for it momentarily 🙂

Reply to  HotScot
July 13, 2017 11:33 pm

No its not, the ice is all melting…according to Prof Wadams & 97% of all ex-spurts (:-))

July 13, 2017 7:25 am

I posted this quote previously:

Andrew Shepherd, professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, agreed. “Everyone loves a good iceberg, and this one is a corker,” he said. “But despite keeping us waiting for so long, I’m pretty sure that Antarctica won’t be shedding a tear when it’s gone because the continent loses plenty of its ice this way each year, and so it’s really just business as usual!” link

Trying to spin it into anything else than business as usual is just displaying ignorance. In the climate wars that’s standard operating practice. I haven’t been able to find a cite but I remember that Bill Clinton joked that Al Gore would use the fact that the sun comes up in the morning as proof of global warming.

Reply to  commieBob
July 13, 2017 11:14 am

Well than I guess that is just par for the course regarding Greenpeace! In a clearly biased online article on, in the lead paragraphs Greenpeace spewed their usual pithy stuff saying once again this should be taken as the “Canary in Coalmine” for Antarctica, justification to cap emissions NOW to prevent the usual litany of bad things befalling mankind.
Sadly the “business as usual” quotes, were cleverly shuffled toward the end of the article where they were most likely not read.

July 13, 2017 7:26 am

Isn’t the ice shelf in fact a glacier that has slid out onto the sea? As such, isn’t it expected that it will continue to expand more or less continuously, and thus be EXPECTED to calve off on occasion? Sounds like making a headline over the sun coming up in the morning to me.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  MDN
July 13, 2017 2:33 pm

The following has some issues, but otherwise is informative.

Ray B
Reply to  MDN
July 13, 2017 8:23 pm

shoosh, MDN, you are not supposed to say that, because the climate zealots depend on our ignorance for their livelihoods.

July 13, 2017 7:30 am

The only thing that surprises me is that we don’t see more such breakages. The sea ice is always growing, if fed from land glaciers, and they can’t grow forever. There are tides and winds and currents always at odds with the fixed ice. It’s pretty amazing they last as long as they do.
“The largest amplitudes occur beneath the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf, where the tide amplitude reaches 30 centimeters. In that location, the difference between high and low tide would be 60 centimeters (about 2 feet). These values represent the average tidal changes over a large area. At individual locations, the tide variation may be even more extreme. Even though Antarctic ice shelves can be up to about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) thick in places, tides can lift these shelves as much as 4.5 meters (about 15 feet).”
So, twice a day these ice shelves are flexed by the tides, up and down, the inflection point being that point at which the ice is grounded.

Mr Julian Forbes-Laird
July 13, 2017 7:32 am

But amid all the trumpets of doom is a remarkably restrained report from the BBC, notable for NOT predicting the end of the world. Note the author, which probably explains the unusually calm tone: I guess the hysterical (no, I don’t mean funny) Matt McGrath must be on holiday.
Giant iceberg splits from Antarctic –

Reply to  Mr Julian Forbes-Laird
July 13, 2017 9:48 am

Just a hunch but beginning to suspect that the beeb are actually smart enough to know that they are currently orbiting the bowl along with CNN and the rest of the fake news media – while Trump continues to pump the flush handle. The general public are growing ever more hostile to them and calls for an end to the license fee funding are mounting fast. Seems to me that the zeitgeist is shifting in favour of a return to a more impartial and less hysterical reporting style. Well, we can hope anyway.

Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 5:55 pm

I listened to BBC International on shortwave for many years and it always saddened and angered me that they had such a leftist bent in so much of their reporting, and it got much worse in late ’90s.
In a totally unrelated aside, I keep seeing your screen name and wonder, do you leave the “Bo” off the front to not confuse people? Just kidding.

July 13, 2017 7:35 am

That this is happening at the height of summer is proof enough for me that this connected to global warming. Think of the poor polar bears!

Reply to  tmitsss
July 13, 2017 9:32 am

YES!, It’s a plot by the penguins to invade the Arctic and reclaim it from the Ursine Oppressors.
Just another case of Climate Change forced immigration. The poor refugees…
(need I add the sarc)

Alan Robertson
Reply to  tmitsss
July 13, 2017 10:10 am

NH Summer…

July 13, 2017 7:35 am

Probably about twenty years ago there was a calving which extended from Wanganui to Wellington(New Zealand) in Length and would not have fitted through the Cook Straight in width. So what is new?

July 13, 2017 7:36 am

Anthony, most people would just send a post card.

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2017 8:36 am

Its the Electronic Age, he did.

Reply to  2hotel9
July 13, 2017 9:02 am

Postcards are supposed to have a girl in a grass skirt!

Reply to  2hotel9
July 14, 2017 12:18 am

“Postcards are supposed to have a girl in a grass skirt!”
Here you go –comment image

Reply to  1saveenergy
July 14, 2017 4:56 am

OK! Now we are cooking with gas!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  2hotel9
July 14, 2017 2:22 am

Isn’t the young lady in 1saveenergy’s postcard a bit lightly dressed for Antarctica?

July 13, 2017 7:39 am

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957-1958 kicked off modern polar science…

The 5,800 sq km calved iceberg is about 12% of the Larsen C ice shelf (50,000 sq km).
The Antarctic ice sheets cover 14,000,000 sq km. 5,800 sq km is 0.04% of 14,000,000 sq km… Instead of using Delaware, Manhattan or multiples of Rhode Island and Luxembourg to “illustrate the size of the iceberg.” Why can’t they just use the map of Antarctica clearly demonstrates the size of the iceberg?comment image
And this iceberg is only half as big as the “world record”…

It’s half the size of the largest iceberg ever recorded: B15. With an area of 11,007 square kilometers (4,250 square miles) — about the size of the state of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica — it calved off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.

Peter Plail
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 8:55 am

Or to put another way, it is miniscule in comparison with the totallity of Antarctica.

Reply to  Peter Plail
July 13, 2017 8:58 am

Yep… Hence the reference to multiples of Luxembourg and Rhode Island.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Peter Plail
July 13, 2017 10:52 am

I’ll get mildly interested when they start talking about multiples of Texas.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 9:26 am

I may have missed it, but I don’t recall this being in the CNN article yesterday…

Not all scientists agree about the lack of impact, especially given the context of climate change.
It’s clear that global warming, caused largely by burning fossil fuels and agricultural practices, is contributing to the broader destabilization of Antarctica, said Eric Rignot, professor of Earth systems sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“This break-up signals that the ice shelf got too thin,” Rignot said in an email. “It got thinner because climate has been warming, over decades; the ice shelf will eventually collapse in the coming decades. This is absolutely related to climate warming. The ice shelf front has not calved this far back in 125 years (first seen by Carl Larsen in 1893) and Larsen C is on a course to collapse, very reminiscent of what happened to Larsen B in 2002.”
“This is yet another wake up call,” he said, “that Antarctica is on the rise and we should be concerned about what that means for future sea level.”

I even commented that I was surprised how reasonable the article was. CNN’s editors must have realized that they forgot to employ the standard tactic of getting a “scientist” not involved in the study/paper/project to babble some alarmist nonsense.

Roger Knights
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 10:30 am

“This is yet another wake up call,” he said,

Time to hit the snooze button.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 5:30 pm

There was apparently one in 1956 from the Ross Glacier that was MUCH bigger.
And evidence of even larger ones back in the 1920’s
These are Glaciers.. RIVERS of ice..
Of course they eventually “flow” into the oceans.

Reply to  AndyG55
July 13, 2017 5:31 pm

linkcomment image

July 13, 2017 7:41 am

If you tell a reporter that crack’s been slowly widening since 1960, you’ll get a blank stare, but try it anyway. It’s loads of fun to confound them.
I did hear one news report that it would add 200 feet to ocean levels and started laughing. That wasn’t repeated.
Is this former glacier, now a berg, going to follow the circum-navigation route around Antarctica now? Or is it going to break up into little bergs instead? Just askin’.

Reply to  Sara
July 13, 2017 10:05 am

Wow that’s a bit of a stretch. If it came from a continental source rather than a floating one that mass of ice would account for 2.8 mm or 0.1″ of sea level rise.

Reply to  Sara
July 13, 2017 8:05 pm

” it would add 200 feet to ocean level”
I think that was referring to the WHOLE of the Antarctic.
Not much likely to happen in that regard.
These dolts are forgetting that rivers FLOW into the sea !!!
Glaciers just do it rather more slowly.

Reply to  Sara
July 14, 2017 3:35 pm

“Is this former glacier, now a berg, going to follow the circum-navigation route around Antarctica now? Or is it going to break up into little bergs instead?” – the answer is “yes” ;->
When I was down there a year and a half ago, there was still a pretty big piece of B15 caught in the Weddell Gyre (IIRC, called B15K2). I would guess, based on its location, a similar future: breaking up into smaller (but still huge) tabular bergs, one by one being sent out the Antarctic Sound (iceberg-alley) into the South Atlantic, a process that could take not just years but possibly decades.

July 13, 2017 7:51 am

Pretty sure you meant “half-century” ago…

Mark from the Midwest
July 13, 2017 7:52 am

“Twice the size of Luxembourg!”
… playing on the lack of geographic knowledge of most folks in the U.S., I drove across the quaint Duchy in under 30 minutes last year, including stops at the Belgium and German borders. This is not “as big as Montana” type of stuff.

Steve from Rockwood
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
July 13, 2017 10:10 am

It’s like catching a fish and declaring it to be longer than 100 mm.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
July 13, 2017 12:16 pm

That is in the link to the Guardian. Being a British paper they should know that things like this are measured in the size of Wales!

July 13, 2017 8:02 am

Nothing compared to Antarctica Scott Island’s 1956 iceberg measured by USS Glacier on November 12, 1956 at 335 km X 97 km or 31,000 km2…
But our media always obfuscate that one…

July 13, 2017 8:05 am

You state that there were no antartic scientists 50 years ago. The polar research ship RRS Discovery entered the Antartic ice floes in January 1902. That makes it just over a 115 years of Antarctic scientific research. She continued with polar research and exploration until 1931. Get your facts right.
Ref The Voyages of the Discovery by Ann Savours. ISBN 0-86369-811-5

Curious George
Reply to  Dave
July 13, 2017 8:14 am

Antarctic scientist is the oldest profession.

Reply to  Curious George
July 13, 2017 10:55 am

Antarctic scientist is the (c)oldest profession.

Reply to  Curious George
July 13, 2017 11:37 am

Hmm… they are some tough breeds down there though. Miss the last return flight and you might have to remove your own appendix.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Curious George
July 13, 2017 4:26 pm

It’s the missing brains they should be worried about.

Reply to  Dave
July 13, 2017 8:52 am

I don’t know if this was directed at my comment; but I posted:

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957-1958 kicked off modern polar science…

I never stated “that there were no antartic scientists 50 years ago.”
The IGY…

IGY triggered an 18-month year of Antarctic science. The International Council of Scientific Unions, a parent body, broadened the proposals from polar studies to geophysical research. More than 70 existing national scientific organizations then formed IGY committees, and participated in the cooperative effort.
Halley Research Station was founded in 1956, for IGY, by an expedition from the Royal Society. The bay where the expedition set up their base was named Halley Bay, after the astronomer Edmond Halley.
In Japan, the Antarctic exploration was planned in 1955 by Monbushō and Science and technology Agency. Japan Maritime Safety Agency offered ice breaker Sōya as the South Pole observation ship. The first Antarctic observation corps commanded by Takeshi Nagata left Japan in 1956, arriving at Antarctica on January 29, 1957. Showa Station was the first Japanese observation base on Antarctica and was set up on same day.[20]
France contributed with Dumont d’Urville Station and Charcot Station in Adélie Land. As a forerunner expedition, the ship Commandant Charcot of the French Navy spent nine months of 1949/50 at the coast of Adelie Land. Ionospheric soundings were performed aboard this ship.[21] The first French station, Port Martin, was completed April 9, 1950, but destroyed by fire the night of January 22 to 23, 1952.[22]
Belgium established the King Baudouin Base in 1958. The expedition was led by Gaston de Gerlache, son of Adrien de Gerlache who had led the 1897-1899 Belgian Antarctic Expedition.[23]
The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station was erected as the first permanent structure at the South Pole in January 1957. It survived intact for 53 years, but was slowly buried in the ice (as all structures there eventually sink into the icy crust), until it was demolished in December 2010 for safety reasons.[24]
Ice Skate 2 was a floating research station constructed and manned by U.S. scientists. It mapped the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Zeke Langdon was a meteorologist on the project. Ice Skate 2 was planned to be manned in 6 month shifts. But due to soft ice surfaces for landing some crew members were stationed for much longer. At one point they lost all communications with anyone over their radios for one month except the expedition on the South Pole.[clarification needed] At one point the ice sheet broke up and their fuel tanks started floating away from the base. They had to put pans under the plane engines as soon as they landed as any oil spots would go straight through the ice in the intense sunshine. Their only casualty was a man who got too close to the propeller with the oil pan.[25]
Most of the long-record Antarctic temperature records begin during or just after the IGY.
The IGY was to modern polar science, what Hansen’s Al Gore-inspired congressional testimony was to modern climate “science”… The kick off point to a new era… Good in the case of the IGY… Bad in the case of Gorebal Warming.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 12:00 pm

The U.S. put out a beautiful stamp to commemorate the 57-58 IGY. It is a
bit of stand-out graphics compared to the wall paper stamps that came out
that year:comment image
Also, that was the only year I got to see the Northern Lights from our
little area in northeast Ohio.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 2:04 pm

Scott and Shackleton set up a research base in McMurdo in 1902

Alan Esworthy
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2017 4:59 pm

I was 10 years old and living in Buenos Aires when Dr. Maurice Ewing brought the Columbia U. research schooner Vema into port. I was lucky enough to meet him and get a tour of that marvelous three-masted ship. He had some good stories about his and his ship’s participation in the I.G.Y.

Reply to  Alan Esworthy
July 13, 2017 5:00 pm
Reply to  Dave
July 13, 2017 9:31 am

He didn’t state that no scientists ever studied the Antarctic, but that that no one had Antarcitica as their primary field of study. The ship entered and left, usually returning with different scientists. These scientists stay, studying Antarctica as a full-time profession, something that no one did until 50 years ago.

Reply to  Ted
July 13, 2017 11:23 am

Or more to the point that easily obtained research grants allowing a broader range of Polar research under the umbrella of Global Warming/Climate Change became more readily available.

Reply to  Ted
July 13, 2017 2:06 pm

The ship spent from 1902
2 years there fast to the ice , a shore base was established which still exists and is a national monument

Steve from Rockwood
Reply to  Dave
July 13, 2017 10:14 am

So one data point in 1902 and another in 1957. Enough for a trend even…

Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 8:06 am

Just to be clear, that’s 21 million Titanics. How many Manhattans I’m not sure. Melting it though, could suck a whole bunch of hiroshimas worth of energy out of the ocean. These are all important scientific values!

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 8:16 am

I wonder how many olympic sized swimming pools it is.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 9:10 am

2 Manhattans is usually my limit. Depends somewhat on the meal that went before it.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  JonasM
July 13, 2017 9:30 am

As long as you’re not 3 sheets to the wind you’re ok.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 9:34 am

Depends on what kind of Manhattan you’re talking about. I prefer Rob Roys, myself.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 3:32 pm

I don’t think “a whole bunch” is proper scientific terminology. Even for “unconventional scientific units”.

Reply to  Hivemind
July 13, 2017 9:51 pm

At Carnegie-Mellon Univ, we experiment with the unit, the melon. It was about the size, or length, or weight of a melon (your choice, but maybe not watermelons) (unless you saw the experimental film “Oh, Dem Watermelons in freshman orientation)
The key feature of melons was that they could only be described to 1.5 significant units (1 to 19). Okay, maybe up to 31 or so.
Good for approximations, good for mental math, and also good eating.

Alan Esworthy
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 4:55 pm

I don’t know how many olympic pools, but because I visualize these things better if I figure the size of an equivalent cube, I found that the trillion tonnes of ice would make an ice cube roughly 10 kilometers on a side.
Now I need to find a reeeeeeally big bottle of rye whiskey.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 4:56 pm

here is a list of really important standards for you.

July 13, 2017 8:12 am

Hi Anthony, good article, hope you are on the mend. The media dare not unduly blame AGW for this, it was well known for years that this event would happen due to geological activity melting the ice under the ice sheet undermining it significantly. The fact that this has happened in the Antarctic winter would make anyone with intelligence realise that CO2 was not to blame.

July 13, 2017 8:13 am

Circumpolar current will take the iceberg on a journey. There is 4 year temperature (2-3 degrees C warmer) /atmospheric pressure double cycle (circumpolar wave) surrounding the pole. Melting of huge lump of ice will cool both sea surface as well as atmosphere above; depending on its velocity and the current location of the waves’s peaks and troughs some disruption to the local climate patterns is likely.

Reply to  vukcevic
July 13, 2017 8:45 am

The should tow it to cape town. REAL fresh water shortage there

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 13, 2017 10:57 am

I was thinking if it were towed to South Padre Island we could pump the melt water to various depleted aquifers in Texas and the midwest. Seriously.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 13, 2017 12:02 pm
Reply to  vukcevic
July 13, 2017 8:47 am

I’m having a sceptical attack here. On the scale of the circumpolar current the berg will be a tiny hardly visible flake. Is that really going to impact local climates?

Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 10:16 am

“I’m having a sceptical attack here.”
and rightly so, since I have no particular knowledge of might or might not happen.
Considering that 90% of the volume is under the surface, when it melts it turns into fresh water which is much lighter than cold saline ocean, and they do not mix well. To exaggerate a bit ‘it might spread to about like a giant oil slick about 20 or more times of the present area size’.
I’m just making a speculative comment hoping to entice a more educated opinion on the matter.

Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 10:57 am

Local weather, maybe, for a few years – in the Falklands and Tierra del Fuego (plus the ocean areas in the vicinity). My WAG on significant weather effects is probably two to three hundred kilometers from the edges.

Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 11:09 am

Observer, sort of thing I was having in mind, but I didn’t express myself terribly well.

john harmsworth
Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 4:32 pm

The berg is probably just about 32F right through the submerged part. The temperature of the waters surrounding Antarctica is very nearly the same. It will take a looooong time to melt, during which airborne moisture will condense and freeze and fall on Antartica and there will be virtually no effect on temperatures anywhere.

Reply to  cephus0
July 14, 2017 5:34 am

I see someone below has pipped me to the post, but I was expecting much hysteria on reading about this and so decided to do some quick algebra to see how long it might take to melt, or at least, how much energy it would require to melt it. I may well have miscalculated too so please critique:
The ice is glibly quoted as being a trillion tonnes.
So mass, m = That’s 1e15 kg.
The specific heat capacity of ice c = 2.108 kJ/kg K.
If we assume it’s roughly at -10C, to melt it has to get it’s temp raised to 0C, so delta T = 10K.
The amount of heat energy Q = mct = 2.11e16 kJ. (A)
We then have to melt the ice. The latent heat (L) of fusion of ice is 334 kJ/kg.
Q = Lm = 3.34e17 kJ (B)
Having melted it, we can work out how much heat warming the water from 0 to 3 C would take, again using Q =mct where t is now 3K = 1.26E16 kJ. (C)
So total energy is (A)+(B)+(C) = 3.68E17 kJ.
That sounds like a lot, so lets think about how we melt it.
I assumed all the energy would come from the sun. I was interested in the amount of heat that melting this berg would take out of the climate system and it seemed logical to consider that against what the sun puts in.
So I decided to look up how much energy from the sun reaches the earths surface at Antarctic latitudes and use that value to figure out how many years it would take to melt.
I found a nice global map of annual mean insolation that indicated a typical average annual roaring 40s insolation would be around 200 W/m2. Antarctica is more like 80, but I chose to use 200 in the calculations. I should add I assume average annual insolation means that 200W/m2 can be assumed to be incident on that m2 for 24 hours of the day, every day of the year. Hence it’s a lot lower than the ~1360 W/m2 I was more familiar with (which is also Top of Atmosphere, not surface, and based on the Earth being a disk, not a sphere).
Using the definition of a Watt as a Joule per second, we get 6.31E6 kJ per year for each m2 of surface or 17,280 kJ/m2 per day.
The surface area of the berg is stated as 5,800km2. So it would take just over 3,600 days (or a bit over 10 years) to melt and then warm its resultant water to 3C. At the 80 W/m2 that is realistic for Antarctica, it would be more like 25 years.
If you could somehow concentrate all the incident energy that the Earth receives from the sun, you could melt it in 48 minutes, but that’s the sort of creative accounting that people invested in renewables use!

Reply to  cephus0
July 14, 2017 6:17 am

Good write-up. The only thing I would add is that surface melting will be accelerated as baroclinic storms come along & rain falls on the berg. Flowing water across the whole surface will melt ice faster than sunshine on a chilly day.

Reply to  cephus0
July 14, 2017 8:18 am

Thanks JKRob – yes good point, lots of heat transfer from water – whether rain, or sea.

Reply to  cephus0
July 15, 2017 12:27 am

That’s a possible explanation for accounts of shipwrecked sailors, adrift at sea, who were saved from dehydration by encountering an “oasis” of fresh water in the middle of the ocean. Those may well have been slicks of recent iceberg melt.

Reply to  vukcevic
July 14, 2017 8:27 am

Dixon thanks for the calculation.

Jeremy Poynton
July 13, 2017 8:15 am

Now we know where icebergs come from. What would we do without such expert scientists?

July 13, 2017 8:16 am

“Just because we can see changes happening on the most remote region of our planet in exquisite detail for the first time in the history of mankind doesn’t necessarily mean those changes are unprecedented.”
This kind of thing always brings me to the analogy of giving a hypochondriac a combined CT/PET/MRI diagnostic radiology suite to play with. The prognosis is always going to be poor.

July 13, 2017 8:17 am

Compare this event to past events that did not receive the media doomsday hype.
The Larsen C iceberg that just calved is
” close to 2,240 square-mile (5,800 square kilometers) chunk of ice has broken away, the Larsen C shelf area has shrunk by approximately 10 percent.”
The less hyped October 1987 B-9 event along the Ross Sea Ice Shelf calved a similar sized berg followed by rapid increase in the ice shelf growth.
From Keys (1998) Continued northward expansion of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica
“The B-9 event “removed ~5100 km2 of ice, about 100 years of advance in that sector, but reduced the ice-shelf area by only 1%.
Since 1987 the entire ice front has continued to advance, more than regaining the area lost during the B-9 event. The western front is now well north of any position recorded during the last 150 years, and it has not experienced major calving for at least 90 years.”

July 13, 2017 8:20 am

A lot of subtle double-speak going on from the usual suspects. They ALL know this is a perfectly normal event yet slyly allude to some sort of human influence, even if they don’t specifically say so. It’s there for all to see. If they can’t be unambiguously honest about this incident – and they’ve shown they can’t, what hope is there that they’ll clean up their act for the future? I’d say about zero. Sad.

Reply to  CheshireRed
July 13, 2017 8:31 am

The Grauniad are pretty explicit in laying the blame on CAGW
Whereas the Independent are more crafty and lead with a screaming doomsday CAGW headline and say nothing at all incriminating in the article text

Alan Robertson
Reply to  cephus0
July 13, 2017 10:36 am

The single fact that the Guardian disallows free and open debate in their comment sections tells the astute reader all they need to know about the Guardian’s veracity and intent.

Harry Fisher
July 13, 2017 8:26 am

Could we please have an equivalent level of reporting about the recent building of snow levels on Greenland.

Reply to  Harry Fisher
July 13, 2017 10:16 am

We don’t talk about increases or mass balances … only loss & calving

William Astley
July 13, 2017 8:35 am

This is a good time to note there is cyclic warming, in all cases followed by cyclic cooling in the paleo record, both hemispheres same periodicity for the cycles, both hemispheres. Of course the past warming cycles were not caused by changes in atmospheric CO2.
Question: Does the Current Global Warming Signal Reflect a Recurrent Natural Cycle?
Answer: Yes
The temperature analysis used for the paper “Does the Current Global Warming Signal Reflect a Recurrent Natural Cycle” is a study of ice cores from the Antarctic Peninsula.
The finding of that paper is that there has been 242 warming events, on the Antarctic Peninsula in the last 240,000 years. It also notes this particular warming event is not unusual in rate of warming and amount of warming. It also notes that warming and cooling events both hemisphere have the same periodicity which supports the assertion that the have the same cause.

Does the Current Global Warming Signal Reflect a Recurrent Natural Cycle?

The current global warming signal is therefore the slowest and among the smallest in comparison with all HRWEs in the Vostok record, although the current warming signal could in the coming decades yet reach the level of past HRWEs for some parameters. The figure shows the most recent 16 HRWEs in the Vostok ice core data during the Holocene, interspersed with a number of LRWEs. Note the highest rate of warming beginning at 8,226 YBP, near the beginning of the agricultural revolution (taking into account the north-to-south hemispheric phase lag or climate see-saw).

The Antarctic peninsula is outside the Antarctic polar vortex. Temperatures in the Antarctic peninsula follow the temperatures in Southern Ocean.
A proof of the mechanism as to what is causing the warming and cooling (its cloud changes caused by solar cycle changes), is the fact that Antarctic peninsula is out sync with the warming and cooling cycle.
The Antarctic continental ice sheet cools when the high latitude regions (northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere, including the Antarctic peninsula which is outside of the Antarctic peninsula) warm. This phenomena is called the Polar see-saw.
The key to solving what causes the cyclic warming and cooling is found by analyzing the Polar see-saw to determine the timing of the warming of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the Antarctic peninsula, and the Antarctic continental ice sheet to determine if the temperature changes are in sync or is there a delay. A 1000 year delay would indicate that ocean current movement is some how causing the Polar See-saw. No delay would indicate that ocean currents has nothing to do with what is observed.
Svensmark did the analysis to determine if there is or is not a delay, by examining ice bore temperature data (last 6000 years) which provides temperature data (ice bore temperature is the direct measurement of the temperature if the in situ ice) with no lag in the proxy temperature method from the Greenland Ice sheet and the Antarctic continent.
Svensmark proved that the cause of the Polar see-saw is the albedo of the Antarctic ice sheet is higher than the Greenland ice sheet (he shows that with top of the atmosphere satellite data and direct measurement data of albedo) strong winds in the Antarctic break down the snow crystals which increase the albedo of the resulting ice) and greater than the albedo of clouds. When there is an increase in cloud cover high latitudes both hemisphere, the Antarctic continental ice sheet cools which is exactly what was observed during this current warming period.
The following is a link to Svensmark’s paper.
The Antarctic climate anomaly and galactic cosmic rays

John M. Ware
July 13, 2017 8:46 am

I see a tremendous opportunity here. Some public-spirited nation should sponsor an Experimental Research Station right on this huge lump of ice! Instruments could record how it reacts to finding the open sea, what stresses might cause it to fracture, how the currents guide it, whether the water in front of it cools when it passes over, and a host of other things. Someone could even plant a colony of penguins on it (or, if one is already there, see how it fares). Someone could even transplant a few lucky polar bears there to see if they like it or perhaps become disoriented because the sun is in the wrong half of the sky. The biggest danger I see (besides waste of money) is that the research station itself could influence the iceberg, perhaps even stimulating it to split underneath it, leaving part of the station on each part of the newly-split berg.

Bob Burban
Reply to  John M. Ware
July 13, 2017 4:07 pm

Any guesses as to how penguins ended up in the Northern Hemisphere, on one of the Galapagos Islands?

Richard G
Reply to  Bob Burban
July 13, 2017 4:37 pm

They rode in on an iceberg.

Reply to  Bob Burban
July 14, 2017 12:00 am

Apart from the fact that most of the Galapagos Islands are in the Southern Hemisphere, (and see below), you could ask the same question of any Species or Order of animals, e.g. polar bears. It’s just the way things evolved.
According to this site:
“To date, the discovery of all penguin fossil fragments has been limited to the Southern Hemisphere. Records show that prehistoric penguins were found within the range of present-day penguins. ”
But I believe that there have birds in the NH which were the equivalent of penguins and I don’t exactly see how you could be absolutely know something was, (or was not) a penguin, from fossils.

Bob Burban
Reply to  quaesoveritas
July 14, 2017 11:25 am
Reply to  Bob Burban
July 14, 2017 8:23 am

In a case of penguin vs polar bear, my money is on the bear. More intriguing is why there are no Polar Bears in Antarctica. I suspect it has to do with a lack of nearby land – it’s not particularly hospitable for terrestrial mammals.

Reply to  Dixon
July 14, 2017 5:17 pm

I don’t know! A gang of unruly Penguins could give a Polar Bear quite the smacking about. They might lose a couple of paesans, in the end they can drown his a$$, since we all know Polar Bears CAN’T SWIM. 😉

Reply to  Bob Burban
July 14, 2017 12:13 pm

This website states:
“However, all known species of penguins live naturally in the southern hemisphere.”
Although the WWF agrees with Wikipedia:
Here is a map of the Galapagos Islands:
According to the distribution map on Wikipedia, a few may live just inside the NH but I think they
are effectively a SH species.
It might be more accurate to say they live on the Equator.

July 13, 2017 8:48 am

Actually had a couple of people yesterday proclaim that this melting will raise sea level. Being at the bar I did the glass of water and ice demonstration. They totally did not expect result. Gave them a short list of places on the web where they can get information other than what the stuporgeniuses on TV hand out. Gots to take opportunity where you find it!

Bill Illis
July 13, 2017 8:48 am

Google Timelapse of the area in question. From 1984 to 2016, but it appears the animation only really starts in the year 2000. So this is an animation from 2000 to 2016 or just 16 years of the ice-sheet flow.
The ice-flow here is very rapid. It has literally moved out to sea at least 8 kms over those 16 years or 0.5 km/year.
There is an outcropping under the ice-sheet here which bulges the sheet up and causing large cracks to form with the rapid flow. There are at least 8 cracks coming in behind this last crack/ice-berg.
Given the distance from where the cracks start forming to where the current crack/ice-berg is now, the scale says it has moved 30 kms out to sea from where it started. At 0.5 kms per year, this means that this crack that made this berg was first formed about 60 years ago. Furthermore, there is a major crack every 5 to 8 kms which means this ice-shelf will send a berg out to sea every 10 to 16 years. Big farkin’ deal.
Have a look. Animated from 2000 to 2016.,-62.63021,7.886,latLng&t=0.42

Bill Illis
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 13, 2017 8:58 am

Even furthermore, this is an extreme zoom-in for where the cracks actually to form.
One can see there is an outcropping of rock which sticks above the ice-sheet here. The ice-flow is moving very rapidly past it here from the interior ice-sheets and the flow is stripping material off the out-cropping. This is where the cracks start. Google Timelapse again.,-62.75405,9.888,latLng&t=3.24
Last April, a geologist noticed from sat pictures that it almost looked like there was a volcanic ash-fall from this out-cropping. But it is not volcanic ash, but it is actually material from the outcropping getting dragged along by the rapid flow of the Larsen ice-shelf. Satellite processing gave a false impression.
So, NOT A VOLCANO – don’t get carried away – but this is exactly where these ice-berg cracks start to form.comment image

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 13, 2017 9:26 am

It seems that seismic activity helps in breaking the ice.

Ray in SC
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 13, 2017 12:36 pm

Is that an IR image in the bottom right? If so, it would appear to show heat (red) from a volvanic event. I could be wrong but, if it is not IR I don’t know what it represents.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 13, 2017 12:46 pm

Ray, yes, the bottom right image is IR. But then, it is a dark out-cropping in the sunshine on a white ice-sheet that has Albedo of 80%. It is naturally going to have higher IR than the ice-sheet and depending on the processing done, would show up as an outlier.

DeLoss McKnight
July 13, 2017 8:55 am

In case you wanted to see Al Gore’s reaction:

Rick K
Reply to  DeLoss McKnight
July 13, 2017 10:07 am

Hey Al! What do you call it when a mama cow has a baby cow?
Uh, “calving”?
No. “Cattle change!”
Hey Al! What do you call it when a glacier keeps growing to infinity and never calves?
Uh, a low-carbon, stable climate?
No. Impossible! It’s impossible, Al! It’s called ‘physics’!!

July 13, 2017 8:56 am

OK. So we have a trillion ton mass of ice cantilevered off the edge of a continent. If this doesn’t eventually break off, something is wrong with physics.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 15, 2017 10:30 am

Any good way to putter this iceberg to an oil-rich desert country?

July 13, 2017 8:57 am

Areas around the icebergs are an excellent environment for the development of marine life.

July 13, 2017 9:03 am

Here is Canada the usual fake news outlets, CBC, CTV, Global the talking heads breathlessly reported this event throwing in”” climate change. Some unidentified scientist was even quoted attributing it to “climate change”

July 13, 2017 9:06 am

It was fascinating to watch the Weather Channel interview (I believe just yesterday) with a scientist presented as an expert on Antartica. I heard not one word from him that this was anything other than a natural, recurring event, though the interviewer seemed to want to press him to say that this was unusual.
That was a first for the Weather Channel.
Progress, maybe…..

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
July 13, 2017 9:22 am
July 13, 2017 9:26 am

A link to the 31000 square km iceberg that the navy icebreaker Glacier observed in 1956.
This was probably a “natural event”:-)

Proud Skeptic
July 13, 2017 9:31 am

When I heard about this the first thing I thought was, “I wonder how many times this happened before 1900 and we knew nothing about it.”

Zum Bomb
July 13, 2017 9:33 am

Wintertime in Antarctica. Not exactly Springtime in Paris.

Snarling Dolphin
July 13, 2017 9:36 am

This most interesting aspect of this story is I learned that Delaware is twice the size of Luxembourg.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  Snarling Dolphin
July 13, 2017 11:04 am

Wondering how many Monacos would it be.

Clyde Spencer
July 13, 2017 9:44 am

The Swansea press release said, “The Larsen C Ice Shelf, which has a thickness of between 200 and 600 metres, floats on the ocean at the edge of The Antarctic Peninsula, HOLDING BACK THE FLOW OF GLACIERS THAT FEED INTO IT.”
NASA similarly claimed, “When floating ice shelves disintegrate, THEY REDUCE THE RESISTANCE TO GLACIAL FLOW and thus allow the grounded glaciers they were buttressing to significantly dump more ice into the ocean, raising sea levels.”
I question the idea that the floating shelf ice provides any significant buttressing effect. The major impediment to forward motion of a glacier is the friction with the bedrock under it. In fact, the ice moves more rapidly some distance above the ground because it takes less energy to shear or plastically deform the ice than to scrape across the bedrock, particularly if the bedrock surface is irregular, in which case upward shearing can take place as the ice moves over ridges. Once the ice leaves land, and starts floating, there is a significant decrease in experienced friction for the floating portion.
Newton’s First Law says that an object in motion (even slow motion!) tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by some outside force. The water-drag experienced by the floating ice is negligible compared to what it experienced when grounded. Therefore, I would expect that there is negligible buttressing exerted by the floating ice. An object that size would require a tremendous force acting on it to accelerate it (F=MA). However, no force would be required to maintain the speed of the glacier from which it was ‘born.’ The fact that a large tension crack was present, and not forced closed by the moving glacier behind it, strongly suggests that there is no significant resistance offered to the glacier as a result of the inertia of the ice shelf.
I think that the forecasts for acceleration of the glaciers on land is, as typical, quite exaggerated.

July 13, 2017 9:53 am

Yet the rather smaller Deception Island, in the South Shetland archipelago, is responsible for the largest known eruption in the Antarctic area.
This horseshoe-shaped cauldron-like structure, or caldera, was produced more than 10,000 years ago by an explosive eruption that scattered more than 30km³ of molten rock. The result is an enclosed welcoming bay called Port Foster.
Deception was officially discovered by the British sealing captain William Smith in 1820 and was subsequently used for purposes such as seal hunting and whaling before finding its modern calling as a site for science and tourism. Maybe because you cannot see most of the volcano above the sea, tourists rarely appreciate its hidden destructive potential.
The big blunder
Claimed in the past by the UK, Chile and Argentina, it provides a unique enclosed environment in which to monitor a “volcano under the ice”. All three of those aforementioned countries financed observatories there in the 1960s (Spain added its own in 2000).
Yet two consecutive volcanic eruptions in 1967 and 1969 went unpredicted – remarkable failures in the history of volcano monitoring. Only the Argentinian and the Spanish observatories still exist.comment image
Read more at:

Reply to  ren
July 13, 2017 12:54 pm

Larsen C has a bunch of cracks. All ice shelves do. This particular crack has been around since at least the 1960s. The unusual part is that in 2014, this crack — and only this crack — started growing in spurts. Why?

Reply to  ren
July 13, 2017 10:04 pm

Does Al Gore reside on Deception Island?

July 13, 2017 9:54 am

Hummm, wonder why they did not compare it to B-15 from 2000 which was nearly twice the size of this one?
Are these ice shelfs a result of the snow compaction pushing off land as glaciers?

Reply to  ossqss
July 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Wrote about this in essay Tipping Points. Snow compacts to ice forming ice sheets. Where portions move downhill they can form traditional glaciers as along the Antarctic peninsula or the Amundesen Embayment, which hosts Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. If those slide into the sea they can either be grounded (closer to shore) or ungrounded (further out). The ungrounded portion is an ice shelf. Larsen C (small), Ronn/Fitchner (large) and Ross (very large) are both.

July 13, 2017 9:58 am

Converting the stated mass to volume gives about 1000 cubic kilometers.
The volume of Earth’s ocean is about 1.33E9 cubic kilometers within about 1 percent.
The new berg is less than one ppm of the Earth’s ocean, and melting will result in zero volume change.
Also, the process of melting will absorb energy from the surroundings by about 334 kilojoules per kilogram.
1E12 tonnes is 1E15 kilograms, so 334E15 kilojoules will be removed from the ocean.
Mass of ocean is 1.4E21 kilograms with a specific heat of 4000 kilojoules per kilogram per degree.
So oceanic specific heat is 5600E21 kilojoules per degree.
Now, 334E15 divided by 5600E21 is 5.9E-8
So if the LarsenC berg completely melts it will cause the Earth’s ocean to cool by 0.00000006 degrees

Alan Robertson
Reply to  bw
July 13, 2017 10:15 am

Run that through a model and stoke some real alarm.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bw
July 13, 2017 12:21 pm

You said, “The new berg is less than one ppm of the Earth’s ocean, and melting will result in zero volume change.” You could have saved yourself some calculating time. Archimedes’ Principle implies that a floating object displaces a volume of water whose weight is equal to the weight of the object. That is, when the ice is converted to water, the water’s volume will be EXACTLY equal to the volume of water the ice is currently displacing.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  bw
July 13, 2017 1:21 pm

Regarding the cooling effect, it would be greater than what you stated by virtue of the fact that, being freshwater, it is a bit lighter, so tends to stay more at the surface, and in terms of climate, it is more the SST’s we are concerned with.

July 13, 2017 10:14 am


July 13, 2017 10:15 am

Earthquake 3D Live Seismic Stream 48 hours global activity

July 13, 2017 11:03 am

“The Grauniad: Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg ….”. I interpret this as implying that the iceberg isn’t even as big as Wales.

Reply to  dearieme
July 13, 2017 11:33 am

Yes, I thought that Wales was the standard unit for calved icebergs. . .
How many centiWales is Luxembourg?

July 13, 2017 12:03 pm

“The iceberg … was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level.”
The inclusion of the word “immediate” here is fraud pure and simple, holding out to the ignorant the possibility that the iceberg might eventually cause sea levels to rise (as it melts perhaps?) where no such possibility exists.

Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2017 12:09 pm

What did one ice shelf say to the other?
“One more crack like that, and we’re splitting”.

July 13, 2017 12:50 pm

B-15 had a good, 17 year run. As good as Brady.

July 13, 2017 1:43 pm

The liberal left has gone 100% nuts !! JFK must be turning in his honorable grave…So sad…

Reply to  Butch2
July 13, 2017 2:01 pm

WARNING….Only watch the video if you have a strong stomach..(or a great sense of humor) ..LOL

Ian Cooper
July 13, 2017 1:54 pm

Anthony, I don’t know if you have had time here in EnZed to ‘enjoy’ the local news, but the main govt. run channel TV1 aired one piece on the iceberg on the 6pm news last night. The invited expert was quick to dismiss any global warming connection and also made a point of saying that because the ice was already floating there would add nothing to the sea level, although she did mention the threat of rapidly calving glaciers discharging into the sea.
Not satisfied with it would seem, they invited a different Antarctic expert into the studio this morning. In spite of some coaxing the same result incurred. Luckily that scientist didn’t fall into the trap. For a change, Scientists 2, Media 0.

July 13, 2017 2:11 pm

1902 world navigation record 78°36 S off the ice shelf. This year it is 78°43.9 some 14 km south. The Ross ice shelf ,has retreated. If you plot these on Google maps the current 2017 record is on the ice shelf!

Will Nelson
July 13, 2017 2:16 pm

“””The Grauniad: Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf”””
Luckily there are small countries to serve as useful units of measurement. Unfortunately though I’m still on the Monaco system of units, so please, how many Monacoes would this be?

July 13, 2017 2:27 pm

Oh … my … God ! — an iceberg 169,000 times as long as my little finger just broke off a continent the size of the continental USA and Mexico combined. Never mind how many of my little fingers THAT whole land area contains. Just focus on the 169,000 figure. Scary stuff.

Brett Keane
July 13, 2017 2:46 pm

Calving must bring stress relief, not cause any speed-up. Most of us, and any engineer, can see that. Climatologists are a stupid lot……

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Brett Keane
July 13, 2017 3:47 pm

Hi Brett,
I was wondering how a floating shelf could possibly impede ice movement off the continent.
As I understand it fluids cannot transmit shear, so where does the friction to hold the floating shelf in place come from?

Mickey Reno
July 13, 2017 2:51 pm

Are you people NOT aware that this iceberg is going to bring HORROR and DESTRUCTION to Melbourne, Australia? This berg is “The Frozen Tsunami,” which, if I have anything to say about it, will be the disaster movie of of all disaster movies. The Day After Tomorrow? Child’s play. Sharknado? Yawn. A couple hundred victims, TOPS!
My screenplay is available for sale to major Hollywood studios. We need a smokin’ hot babe who doesn’t mind some frontal nudity for the lead female role and a handsome studly cowboy type to play the nuclear tipped harpoon engineer, and a nerdly little guy to play the main scientist. Maybe Stephen Hawkings will consent to play the role, as himself.
And all the Aussie extras to lay on the beach in the nude, to scream in horror and provide killing fodder for….
Da da DAAAA …. The Frozen Tsunami !!!! Coming soon to a theater near you (I hope).

Reply to  Mickey Reno
July 13, 2017 5:38 pm

It will be the Icenadoe!!!! With sharks. With lasers on their heads. Sorry, just could not resist.

Reply to  Mickey Reno
July 14, 2017 9:18 am

Bergmageddon, the movie

brian stratford
July 13, 2017 2:57 pm

According to old maps the continent of Antarctica was ice free only 6000 years ago. Piri Reis for example.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  brian stratford
July 13, 2017 5:44 pm

Did Adam and Eve spot that right after Creation…6,000 years ago. It’s been more like 15,000,000 years, dude.

James Fosser
July 13, 2017 3:05 pm

I spent several years working in Swansea and I wish that IT had been calved from the UK and gone floating off out into the Atlantic (but not when I was there)

Michael S. Kelly
July 13, 2017 5:41 pm

Who wants to chip in to buy an outboard motor, and try to bring that puppy up to to permanent-drought-stricken California? Oh, wait…
Well, maybe we could get it up to the Persian Gulf, and sell it to the Arabs for $100 a barrel.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
July 13, 2017 6:50 pm

Can’t do that, CO2 emission, don’t ya know. Unless Musk will build us an electric outboard.

July 13, 2017 5:54 pm

Iceberg B-15 was the world’s largest recorded iceberg.[Note 1] It measured around 295 kilometres (183 mi) long and 37 kilometres (23 mi) wide, with a surface area of 11,000 square kilometres (4,200 sq mi)—larger than the whole island of Jamaica. Calved from the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica in March 2000,
Scientists believe that the enormous piece of ice broke away as part of a long-term natural cycle, which occurs every fifty to one hundred years.
The iceberg measured around 295 kilometres (183 mi) long and 37 kilometres (23 mi) wide, with a surface area of 11,000 square kilometres (4,200 sq mi)—larger than the island of Jamaica.
In 1956, an iceberg in the Antarctic was reported to be an estimated 333 kilometres (207 mi) long and 100 kilometres (62 mi) wide. Recorded before the era of satellite photography, the 1956 iceberg’s estimated dimensions are less reliable.[1]
At 5,800 sq km the new iceberg, expected to be dubbed A68, is half as big as the record-holding iceberg B-15 which split off from the Ross ice shelf in the year 2000, but it is nonetheless believed to be among the 10 largest icebergs ever recorded.

Patrick MJD
July 13, 2017 6:38 pm

A trillion tonnes? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

July 13, 2017 7:09 pm

Today, opening paragraph of the article:
By David Templeton
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A noted Penn State University climatologist whose leading research on climate change has drawn praise — and sizable controversy — says the Delaware sized ice mass that broke
away from Antarctica portends a sea-level rise of 6 feet by the end of the 21st century.
Already projections for rising sea levels are 3 feet, said Michael Mann, director
of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, who has been the lightning rod from
those criticizing climate change science.

Reply to  rd50
July 13, 2017 7:29 pm

We all know the stupid is strong with that one. And Davee Templeton at the Compost Gazzette is virtue signaling pinhead who jumps on every wackjob leftist bandwagon that trundles by.

Pamela Gray
July 13, 2017 9:29 pm

At the peak of an interstadial period it is just shocking that we are warm and ice shelves are cracking off. Shocking I tell you. Run for the hills. We are in the middle of the great…wait for it…normal condition. Everybody panic.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 14, 2017 4:32 am

Normalcy uber alles!

Robert from oz
July 13, 2017 9:34 pm

Can anyone tell me how many Olympic sized swimming pools this is so I can properly appreciate the size ?
Joe O’Brien of their ABC in OZ trying to get some “Expert” to say it was because of or attributed to Globull warming and Climate change but the guy wasn’t playing ball , so disappointing.

Reply to  Robert from oz
July 13, 2017 10:07 pm

As long as 723 football fields.

Robert from oz
Reply to  toorightmate
July 14, 2017 2:13 am

Is that our code your code or that funny round ball code .

July 13, 2017 11:08 pm

Look at the size of that chunk of ice heading straight for Wales!
Swansea is doomed!

July 14, 2017 3:35 am

Probably will soak up significant amount of heat in melting that much ice…. May lead to another La Nina event somewhere down the road?

July 14, 2017 4:10 am

I have done my own take on the Larson C ice-shelf break-away earlier today.
Main points
– Guardian quotes multiple sources that it is a natural phenomenon, but seeks to link the event to climate change.
– Larson C is on the Antarctic Peninsula, which is 2% of Antarctica, and climatically different from the rest of the frozen continent.
– The BBC for once distances itself from any claims that this might be a signal of worse to come. In fact points to an iceberg more than twice the size break off in 1995 and an uncorroborated sighting in 1956 of an iceberg over 7 times the size.
The following image from the Guardian puts this very large iceberg in proportion to the entire continent.

July 14, 2017 4:12 am

The media forget to report the inconvenient truth about Larsen C iceberg – it raised sea level by 0.1 millimeter! Yup and high tide raises it by 600 millimeters twice a day. I’m going to swim. Hey the sea rose by 0.1 mm LOLcomment image

July 14, 2017 6:45 am

What’s Watts doing out of the jacuzzi? Someone call nurse Ratchet!

Reply to  Donny
July 14, 2017 5:06 pm

Not nurse Ratchet!!!!!! Nurse Candii, Nurse Bambii and Nurse Lupe’, they can give Anthony a bit of “therapy”. Nurse Ratchet can pay a visit to McConnell, Ryan, Paul and McCain.

Mark - Helsinki
July 14, 2017 6:52 am

British Antarctic Survey say this is quite natural and nothing to do with “climate change”

July 14, 2017 11:07 am

I think you meant to say a half century, not a half decade of arctic/antarctic scientists-near the top.

July 14, 2017 12:05 pm

Instead of stressing out about this “crack baby”, we should be sending a fleet of tugboats and icebreakers down there before the Chinese do. #FreshWaterPearls #ThirstyAustralia

Reply to  billk
July 14, 2017 12:07 pm

BTW the “icebreakers” part was just an ice breaker, to open up an explosive topic.

Reply to  ren
July 14, 2017 11:01 pm

I think that the end of the melt season will be early this year, perhaps by the middle of next month. That is going tp leav a big above average starting point for the upcoming winter gain. How high might that go?

Reply to  goldminor
July 14, 2017 11:22 pm

The temperature above 80N has a downward trend this summer.
Now the temperature above the North Pole should be the highest.

July 15, 2017 3:29 am

The ice in the Arctic is the 3rd lowest recorded it has ever been(or is it the fourth as I cannot be bothered to look it up) for this time of the year. Amazing ly there are cherries growing there to be picked.

Reply to  Ron
July 15, 2017 5:19 am

Just checked NSIDC and WOW, the Arctic Sea is still covered with ice. Those pesky satellite images, how dare they show what is actually going on.

James at 48
July 17, 2017 12:51 pm

It is not even continental ice. It is mountain ice from the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula which has extended out to sea and undergone accretion with sea ice and snow. Similar to what we have on the West Coast of NOAM (BC and Alaska) in some of the Fjords. but on a grander scale

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