Featured Image for An iceberg bigger than Bali is about to break off Antartica and we can’t do anything to fix it 
Science

An iceberg bigger than Bali is about to break off Antartica and we can’t do anything to fix it 

An iceberg measuring 6000 square kilometres – one of the largest ever recorded – is about to break off from Antarctica.

It’s been widely quoted as larger than the American state of Delaware, but for a bit more of a local perspective, it’s bigger than Bali (5,780 km²).

The iceberg is separating from Larsen C, which is one of Antarctica’s major ice shelves. Scientists have been monitoring Larsen C with the help of three satellites and have identified a 200 kilometre long crack in the ice shelf.

“Using information from CryoSat, we have mapped the elevation of the ice above the ocean and worked out that the eventual iceberg will be about 190 m thick and contain about 1155 cubic kilometres of ice,” scientist Noel Gourmelen said in a statement. “We have also estimated that the depth below sea level could be as much as 210 m.”

According to Mashable, that’s enough ice to fill 462 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The team monitoring the iceberg aren’t sure when the iceberg will separate from Larsen C and what the repercussions might be.

“As for this new Larsen C berg, we are not sure what will happen. It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after,” said Anna Hogg from the University of leads in the same statement. “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.”

In a tweet, Mark Drinkwater, head of the mission science division at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre said the hype around the new iceberg has given rise to the new term “Bergxit”.

First Brexit, then Grexit and Frexit and now Bergxit? I’m officially proposing “Xitxit” which is a term used to stop people putting “xit” on the end of everything.

To paraphrase Neil DeGrasse Tyson, science is true even if you don’t believe in it. Climate change is very real, and it is having a massive impact on the Earth, in particular, Antarctica.

So how’s Australia’s efforts to combat climate change going? (Spoiler: not great)

In news reminiscent of what’s happening in the U.S. IFL Science reports that the Australia Climate Change Authority (CCA) currently has a total of zero climate scientists.

Zero, zip, none, nada.

John Quiggin, who quit the board in March, wrote in a blog the reason for his resignation:

The government’s refusal to accept the advice of its own Authority, despite wide support for that advice from business, environmental groups and the community as a whole, reflects the comprehensive failure of its policies on energy and the environment. These failures can be traced, in large measure, to the fact that the government is beholden to right-wing anti-science activists in its own ranks and in the media. Rather than resist these extremists, the Turnbull government has chosen to treat the vital issues of climate change and energy security as an opportunity for political point scoring and culture war rhetoric.

Quiggin is actually an economist and Professor David Karoly was the last scientist to leave the CCA. IFL Science notes that the Government should be seeking to replace him, but they don’t necessarily have to.

It’s really about time the Australian and U.S. Government realised that fighting climate change is a necessity, not an option.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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