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NYC-sized iceberg being born on Antarctica
Scientists on an aerial survey of Antarctica have come across an 18-mile-long break in an ice shelf — a sign that the sensitive area is giving birth to an iceberg that will be larger than New York City.
"We are actually now witnessing how it happens," Michael Studinger, project scientist with NASA's IceBridge survey, said in a statement Wednesday. "It’s part of a natural process but it’s pretty exciting to be here and actually observe it while it happens."
The scientists were aboard a NASA jet on Oct. 14, making measurements of Pine Island Glacier and its ice shelf, when they came across the crack.
Glaciers naturally give birth to icebergs, but scientists are concerned that warming temperatures might be destabilizing those in Antarctica and Greenland by eroding the ice shelves floating on water that hold them back up against the mainland.
Without the ice shelves, those glaciers could flow much faster into the ocean, raising sea levels.
Scientists call Pine Island Glacier "the largest source of uncertainty in global sea level rise projections," NASA noted in its statement.
"It is likely that once the iceberg floats away, the leading edge of the ice shelf will have receded farther than at any time since its location was first recorded in the 1940s," NASA noted.
Stupid global warming creating icebergs again.