July 12, 2017

"A one trillion tonne iceberg... has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica."

"The calving occurred sometime between Monday 10th July and Wednesday 12th July 2017, when a 5,800 square km section of Larsen C finally broke away."
The iceberg... was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level....

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...

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.

96 comments:

Bay Area Guy said...

Oh my goodness! That poor iceberg.

sunsong said...

Global warming

Dust Bunny Queen said...

From the article: 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.

Forever? Really. For ever and ever and ever. Or just for a while. Or a blink of an eye in the 4 billion year history of the Earth?

Nah. Forever is a more pearl clutching term. Go with that.

Owen said...

A trillion tonnes sounds like a lot until you do the math: 1,000 gigatonnes or about 0.03% of the ice mass in Antarctica. I include here both icecap (above sea level) and sea-ice (which this ice, already afloat, was functionally part of). My guess is, this chunk is not mechanically strong and will soon be fragmented by storms and currents. Just the competing vectors of currents acting on different ends of something this big, will generate huge stresses: which is how the initial crack occurred.

So, a spectacular event but probably almost meaningless in the climatological context. Although, by moving all those ice cubes northward into warmer ocean waters, it will exert a cooling effect. A lot of heat will be absorbed in melting a piece of ice that big.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Climate Chaos, I believe, is the currently preferred term.

Bob Ellison said...

When we're talking about cows, the mother is the one that calves. Shouldn't we say that the ice shelf, not the offspring iceberg, is the actor that calved?

Bay Area Guy said...

Global cooling - it's very cold in Antarctica.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ambrose said...

That was quick - Trump just withdrew from the Paris accord a few weeks ago.

Bob Ellison said...

Also, shouldn't NASA rush to plant an American flag on the 'berg?

Curious George said...

"while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters"

Sweet. No more of that "we won the popular vote" crap.

Ann Althouse said...

"When we're talking about cows, the mother is the one that calves. Shouldn't we say that the ice shelf, not the offspring iceberg, is the actor that calved?"

Yes, that bothered me too.

Gahrie said...

The iceberg... was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level....

So why the hysteria?

Although the remaining ice shelf will continue naturally to regrow,

Good news, right?

Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift...

Hmm potentially....perhaps potentially the new configuration will be more stable?

Yet another nothingburger intended to frighten the ignorant.



urbane legend said...

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.

Is there anything else stupidly useless the writer would like to tell us? Did anyone think it was headed to Maxim's?

Birkel said...

sunsong,

Please explain why you misspelled glowball warmening.

William said...

It's a celebrity iceberg. They should milk it for its waters. Naturally pure, naturally clean Antarctic water, the oldest water on earth. Water distilled by God on the first day of creation.

Yancey Ward said...

Icebergs equivalent to this size calve away all the time- they have to, or the entire world would be Antarctica today. A trillion tonne iceberg is about 40% of the liquid water equivalent of Antarctica's total precipitation in a given year.

Seeing Red said...

So a large piece of ice got too large, stressed and broke off. What's the big deal?

Besides no sunspots recently so a possible solar minimum. It gets cold then.


Was anyone yapping about global warming when the Titanic went down?

There were lots of little pieces of ice around that.

And The Great Lakes were formed by retreating icebergs.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

If that huge an iceberg formed and then broke off then in the Antarctic ICE MUST BE ACCUMULATING AT A HUGE RATE for that overflow to come. See Antarctic is LAND. Ice is on the LAND and overflowing into the OCEAN.

mockturtle said...

and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever

Imagine! The earth's landscape changing! Wow, it's never done that before! Why, it's been static since the earth's creation. We all know that.

Unknown said...

I eagerly await the stories of the Chilean coast guard rescuing climate change researchers who fall into the ocean after holding religious rites on the top of this latest casualty of global warming.

Just like Canada has to regularly rescue "scientists" who are certain all the ice has melted in the northern hemisphere and they try to sail through the "Northwest passage" only to get stuck in an iceberg.

--Vance

Ralph L said...

Someone call Saudi Arabia.

Big Mike said...

Quick! Someone calculate how much the seashore will rise when this iceberg melts! How many miles will the seashore move inland?

traditionalguy said...

The South Pole has gotten so much colder and more ice covered over the last 20 years of Global Cooling that the ice has to break off and go somewhere.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Only a matter of time before it collides with RMS Tyrannic.

David53 said...

I want to know what the government is going to do about the thousands of polar bears trapped on that iceberg. Those bears will die if they can't return to land and don't even get me started on the baby cows who will be separated from their mothers.

traditionalguy said...

The Sun Spots ( solar flares) have stopped. That stoppage causes an increase in cosmic rays that cause our atmosphere's cloud formation, which in turn shades the earth surface.This has Science been known for over 20 years.

The World Government will need an asteroid strike Myth now to empower its authority to take all the money and redistribute it, just like Stalin did the USSR's money to help all the people.

Jay Elink said...

"So, a spectacular event but probably almost meaningless in the climatological context. Although, by moving all those ice cubes northward into warmer ocean waters, it will exert a cooling effect. A lot of heat will be absorbed in melting a piece of ice that big."

****

Yes.

Not to blind green weenies with Science, but:

while it takes only one calorie to warm a gram of liquid water from 0 to 1 degrees C, it takes 80 calories to transform a gram of zero degrees ice to zero degrees liquid water.

Phase changes require a whole lotta energy.

AllenS said...

What do you call a whole bunch of icebergs, a herd?

Owen said...

To get a feeling about the vastness of Antarctica's ice, try "Endurance," a book about Ernest Shackleton's expedition. Endless fields of utterly hostile ice-choked sea, crushing their ship like kindling and leaving them to struggle onward on foot for months.

But we need to wet ourselves over a shift in a trace gas from 0.03% to 0.04% becaause DISASTER ELEVENTY PLEASE REMIT CARBON TAX AND DO AS WE SAY.

John said...

If the mother ice calves, doesn't that make the smaller berg technically a "Vealburg"?

John Henry

rehajm said...

A lot of heat will be absorbed in melting a piece of ice that big.

I run experiments in this area all the time. Well, usually after 4PM.

stever said...

Great news! White Sands will finally become a really nice beach!

mockturtle said...

I want to know what the government is going to do about the thousands of polar bears trapped on that iceberg. Those bears will die if they can't return to land and don't even get me started on the baby cows who will be separated from their mothers.

Of course, we know polar bears are found only in the Arctic, not the Antarctic, but I'm sure these climate zealots will find some species to wail about.

JLScott said...

"no immediate impact on sea level"

Gotta love that "immediate". Does the idiot journalist think it will eventually have an effect on the sea level?

John Tuffnell said...

Funny that it's calve and not cleave. Maybe so people aren't distracted by talking about the massive cleavage.

MikeR said...

"we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change". We'll see who disagrees with that.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Shouldn't we say that the ice shelf, not the offspring iceberg, is the actor that calved?

We probably shouldn't say "dinner is cooking" either, but we do.

Lewis Wetzel said...

This is important news!
Oh, wait, it isn't. Unless it would be equally import if an Antarctic ice shelf grew by 5800 sq km over a period of, say, a decade.

Freeman Hunt said...

Iceberg news.

The glass of water in my hand is very interested, I'm sure.

Rick said...

Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift...

Potentially less stable huh? All that impressive research and the conclusion is literally nothing. Do the writers even understand this?

AJ Lynch said...

So now the rising seas will cause a bunch of beachfront homeowners to sell their homes at bargain prices! Makes it a good time for me to buy.

stever said...

Rick says "Do the writers even understand this?" I'm guessing no.

AJ Lynch said...

I go to Ocean City, NJ next month... maybe I should have bought that vacation insurance policy afterall.

stlcdr said...

This is yuuge!

stlcdr said...

Such announcements are now politically motivated. The reality is, so what?

But this is a build up to 'the big one' that they can point out as evidence of them knowing about 'the big one' but nobody listened.

I'd like to know what events were precursors to major events that were noted, but we didn't do anything about? We have had a lot of 'we are going to die in 5 years' for the past 30 years or so (which is probably the time I started paying attention, and should probably stop, now).

Jess said...

I'm thinking it broke because it was struck with a hockey stick.

stlcdr said...

Oh, they should tow the iceberg to Africa so they can have fresh water. Brewster would be proud.

Owen said...

Sea level rise = 3 mm a year (max; being totally generous here).

3 mm = about 1/8 of an inch.

A pencil lead.

Your great-great-great-grandchidren will have to move the beer cooler another foot up the beach.

Sad!

Bryant said...

I thought the last time this particular iceberg was in the news we were told that when it calved it was going to raise the sea level across the world?

southcentralpa said...

Acoustic instruments have detected a spoken phrase, "You're a meaningful and valued member of the team." Scientists refused speculation on what that meant...

traditionalguy said...

A calf off the old block of ice.

Owen said...

I watched a berg calving off Bylot Island. A perfect summer day in 1970, the sun was up 22 hours a day. We were there on a Canadian survey crew, and obedient to Kabloona's vision we pounded stakes and turned angles for --yes-- a subdivision. Because the caring ones in Ottawa Federal Govt wanted to ensure a good life for the Inuit. And as soon as we pounded our stakes, they pulled them to tie their dogs. An orthogonal system of values.

From my reading of the comments, I thin there may be some confusion about the proper usage of "calving." For me, watching over 20 miles of Pond Inlet as those untold tons of ancient ice descended three thousand feet or more, the direction of the verb was clear. The glacier gives birth to the fragment. The fragment gives itself up to the sea.

David said...

"And The Great Lakes were formed by retreating icebergs."

Those were glaciers. And the glaciers did not retreat. They melted. The scouring contribution to the formation of the lakes was made during the advance of the ice. The formation of the lakes was due both to scouring (pushing surface matter) and to compression cause by the immense weight of the glaciers.

The recent ice age was a massive climate event, changing vast parts of the globe. Humans survived this era. Indeed the Ice Age seems to have accelerated the need for human ingenuity and adaptation, and was a direct stimulus to migration and changes in human culture. The lakes are also evidence that climate change is both inevitable and highly consequential. It is often difficult for people to believe that the Great Lakes did not exist until about 14,000 years ago. That is a blink in geologic time.

SeanF said...

Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable than it was prior to the rift...

If the previous configuration was relatively stable, it wouldn't have calved, would it?

David said...

"What do you call a whole bunch of icebergs, a herd?"

Abbatoir.

David said...

"Phase changes require a whole lotta energy."

Oh boy is that ever true.

David said...

"If the previous configuration was relatively stable, it wouldn't have calved, would it?"

Mamma gotta have the baby sooner or later. Same with the metaphorical calf.

n.n said...

Rift or birth?

Congratulations, Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. It's a trillion tonne iceberg!

This puts things in perspective. Without Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, and mechanical stress, this iceberg would not exist today.

Ann Althouse said...

"I go to Ocean City, NJ next month..."

That's where I got all my best sunburns as a child.

Kevin said...

Warm-mongering.

Kevin said...

"A one trillion tonne iceberg"

Exactly? What were the odds?

Infinite Monkeys said...

potentially less stable

So then maybe smaller pieces will break off more frequently. That sounds like it would be better.

I want to see them break up the big iceberg with lasers. Space lasers.

Big Mike said...

@Owen, your great great great grandchildren will not have beer coolers. They will be snorting chocolate powder.

DanTheMan said...

>>Quick! Someone calculate how much the seashore will rise when this iceberg melts! How many miles will the seashore move inland?

Might be the other way around. Ice is larger than an equal weight of liquid water.

tcrosse said...

The floating iceberg displaces an amount of water equal to its weight, and continues to do so until it melts. The net effect of melting on water level is nil.

poker1one said...

I read on another site that the calf was as big as Delaware. As I mentioned on Twitter, "It was not until this day that I realized how small Delaware is." And if you ever wondered how those old Puritans of the 17th century could get so hysterical about witches, behold the Climate Concerned.

Pianoman said...

tcrosse -- interesting that you bring that up. Mrs. Pianoman and I once got into a heated argument about the Science! of melting ice.

For some reason, she had gotten it into her head that ice cubes would immediately evaporate upon melting, and I couldn't shake her of that belief.

I blame years of watching Jon Stewart.

EDH said...

Don't have a cow, man.

Owen said...

Ann: pretty disappointed with your response here. Yeah, you can hide as an Arty Commenter.

But the fact of it is, you could have helped us All Respond.

And not just Us, but ALL OF US????!!!!

WE ARE IN FACT DISLODGED FROM THE CRAZY.

Bob Ellison said...

The science of melting icecaps is that melting icecaps, above sea level, will raise the sea level.

southcentralpa said...

It may not evaporate immediately, but in the high desert, it won't be around long. (Been places so dries, a glass with an iced drink won't even "sweat".)

Bob Ellison said...

Pianoman, maybe she was thinking of dry ice (CO2).

tcrosse said...

The science of melting icecaps is that melting icecaps, above sea level, will raise the sea level.

Correct for ice on land. The ice in question is floating in the sea.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm worried about the penguins. They work so hard to fly up to the flats on those ice shelves, and now millions of them will find no place to land.

The polar bears will have no penguins to feed on, so they're in danger, too.

As well as the Inuit, who feed on polar bears. And the Goremites, who are omnivorous and rely upon the ice, the penguins, the polar bears, and the Chardonnay year-round. Soon they may be extinct.

DanTheMan said...

>> ice cubes would immediately evaporate upon melting

That would be... sublime. ;)


Bob Ellison said...

tcrosse, yes, no argument. And the article was pretty good on that point.

Water, so abundant here on Earth, is so misunderstood!

Jim at said...

"Global warming"

What is the perfect temperature of the Earth?

When did it happen?

Kevin said...

"Climate Chaos, I believe, is the currently preferred term."

Working their way up to Climate Treason.

Ann Althouse said...

"A trillion tonnes sounds like a lot..."

Aside from the number — a trillion! — there's also the "tonnes." Sounds extra-heavy to me.

DanTheMan said...

>tonnes

There are two kinds of countries in the world. Those that use the metric system, and those put men on the moon.

James K said...

Is there no end to the damage Donald Trump can cause!?

But seriously:

the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever.

"Landscape"? Aside from the fact that it was already floating, how does this changing the shape of the ice cover affect the landscape?

Robert Cook said...

"What is the perfect temperature of the Earth?"

There is not a perfect temperature for the Earth. There are only optimal temperatures for various forms of life. When temperatures change drastically enough in either direction, some, many, or most of the extant forms of life will die, and new forms of life may arise.

So, the question is: what is the perfect (or optimal) temperature to allow humankind and many or most of the forms of life currently extant to continue to survive?

mockturtle said...

So, the question is: what is the perfect (or optimal) temperature to allow humankind and many or most of the forms of life currently extant to continue to survive?

Maybe not all life forms are meant to survive. Should the dinosaurs have survived? Viruses will probably survive all other life forms. [I realize the implications of 'meant' but wasn't sure what other term to use].

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What is the perfect temperature of the Earth?

When did it happen?


78 degrees. Santa Cruz beach June 1968.

Robert Cook said...

Well, sure...life forms arise and they die. In the end, the earth will be barren of life, and will itself one day be swallowed up by the sun, increasing in size as it dies.

mikeski said...

"When we're talking about cows, the mother is the one that calves. Shouldn't we say that the ice shelf, not the offspring iceberg, is the actor that calved?"

But it didn't say "calve", it said "calved away". Parallel: the glacier "broke", but the iceberg "broke away".

"What do you call a whole bunch of icebergs, a herd?"

A bunch of Bergs in one place is a Minnesota.

Michael said...

A lot of icebergs is not a herd of iceberg. It is known as a collaboration of icebergs

mockturtle said...

It is known as a collaboration of icebergs

Why not a confederacy of icebergs?

mockturtle said...

will itself one day be swallowed up by the sun, increasing in size as it dies.

Increasing in size except for the 75K mile wide hole it has recently developed.

Pianoman said...

Actually, now that I think about it, she believed that melting icebergs would increase the sea level. She didn't understand that whole "displacement of water" thing.

Not sure if she gets it now or not. Not going to ask either. I've learned in my 30+ years of marriage that some things aren't important to "win" at. And when she's getting most of her "science information" from The Daily Show, it's best to just keep quiet.


tcrosse said...

A tray of icebergs ?

Owen said...

Prof. A: the comment at 1:43 ("...crazy") is not mine. Not sure what is going on here.

cyrus83 said...

Useful historical note for journalists and scientists - glaciers of ice covering large portions of Canada and the northern US melted away not so very long ago geologically speaking, raising the sea level so far it submerged the land bridge connecting Asia and North America under nearly 100 feet of water. At least that was the science in the school textbooks 20 years ago.

Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions melts and grows all the time as it has done for millennia. This is not news, it's the equivalent of noticing a solar eclipse and proclaiming the world is coming to an end.

Gahrie said...

Well, sure...life forms arise and they die. In the end, the earth will be barren of life, and will itself one day be swallowed up by the sun, increasing in size as it dies.

Thank you Comrade Marvin.