A huge ice sheet more than half the size of Qatar could soon break off from Antarctica...
Video: Glaciologists say a crack in Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf is quickly spreading and could break off the largest iceberg on record within days
If the Larsen C breaks free, it'll be one of the world's biggest ever icebergs, measuring 6,000 square kilometers or 2,300 square miles.
That's the size of four Londons or more than seven New York Citys.
In early June, scientists said the Larsen C was 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the edge of the ice
. It's now just five kilometers (3 miles) away, according to the European Space Agency
Larsen C is a portion of the greater Larsen Ice Shelf on the northeastern coast of Antarctica.
The ESA is monitoring the sheet through CryoSat
, its mission dedicated to ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, along with a duo of ESA radars.
If it drifts away, there are fears Larsen C could pose a danger to ships.
"We are not sure what will happen," Anna Hogg, with the University of Leeds, told ESA. "It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after. 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."
Larsen C is not the first major iceberg to break off.
In the last three decades, Larsen A and B have also cleaved from the shelf. That's a big deal, especially for a frozen mass in one of the quickest warming areas on Earth, according to NASA
The split of Larsen C will fuel a vicious cycle leading to more vulnerability
, NASA says. The deeper ice the Larsen C had once shielded is expected to become vulnerable to melting and disintegration, especially with rising temperatures.
As it loses part of its anchor, the ice shelf could become less stable.
There are no major research bases or centers on the piece that's about to break away, unlike on the berg that split from Antarctica in 2015
, according to ESA.
ESA radars monitoring the region will tell researchers exactly when the split occurs. The agency's systems will also help also calculate changes in the volume of the Earth's ice after the monumental break.
Updated 12:12 PM ET, Thu July 6, 2017
Stay Informed: Sign up for our free global warming blog RSS feed by clicking here. About once a week you will receive the world's newest and best global warming articles. (This blog already has thousands of spellbinding articles tracking our current and past progress, successes and failures.)
Share This Blog Post: If you would like to share this blog post, go to the original, shorter version of this post then look to lower right for the large green Share button.
To View Our: current positions, opinions, agreement or possible disagreement with this blog post or its individual facts, click here.
Sign up for the Global Warming Blog for free by clicking here. In your email you will receive critical news, research and the warning signs for the next global warming disaster.
Click here to learn how global warming has become irreversible and what you can do to protect your family and assets.
Click here to learn about the most disruptive new book on global warming facts and research. Climageddon, The Global warming Emergency and How to Survive it.
To share this blog post: Go to the original shorter version of this post. Look to lower right for the large green Share button.
To view our current agreement or disagreement with this blog article, click here.