A satellite captured the moment when a Manhattan-sized iceberg separates from the Pine Island Glacier in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. NASA released the images as proof that global warming is really affecting the poles.

The ice section is about one to two kilometers long. It separated from the Pine Island Glacier between 24 and 31 January. The iceberg is ten times smaller than the largest iceberg separation, which occurred in 2015.

Image credit: NASA

“The missing ice in both poles has been quite extraordinary,” David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Programme, told a UN briefing in Geneva.

NASA satellite shows how the iceberg breaks off

NASA’s satellite captured the moment when the 1.6-kilometer-long piece of ice broke off the Glacier and entered into the oceans in the West Antarctica. Scientists say that though it is regrettable, it is no surprise given the rising temperatures in the poles as a consequence of human activities. It also comes few weeks after NASA, and the United Nations World Meteorological Organization estimated that 2016 was, in fact, the hottest year on record. As well, the UN Meteorological Organization said on Friday that the temperatures of the ice surrounding the Arctic and Antarctic last month had hit a record.

According to the satellite images, the section of ice separated from the Pine Island Glacier between 24 and 31 January. It is the size of Manhattan; nonetheless, it is not the largest chunk of ice that has ever broken off of a glacier. This new iceberg is about ten times smaller than the iceberg that broke off in July 2015, which was 225 square miles or 59 square kilometers. This event is known as calving.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory / Sky News

“I think this event is the calving equivalent of an ‘aftershock’ following the much bigger event,” said Ohio State University glaciologist Ian Howat.”Apparently, there are weaknesses in the ice shelf – just inland of the rift that caused the 2015 calving – that are resulting in these smaller breaks.”

Scientists consider that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse in less than 100 years

According to scientists, climate change and the rising temperatures in oceans are accelerating the melt of the world’s ice. Mr. Howat said that these rapid calving events are a little unusual to occur to this kind of glacier; however, he admitted that the phenomenon fits into the larger picture where ice shelf is being eroded by warm ocean water, causing the ice shelf to break from the inside out. Another piece of ice, about a quarter the size of Wales, have been observed by the scientists, who say that it is “hanging by a thread.” It is situated on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, which is the most northern major shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Scientists consider that more icebergs might break off the Pine Island Glacier in the months to come. Scientists expect further carvings and believe that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet might collapse within the next 100 years.

Source: Sky News