An iceberg that was once the world’s largest melts away

An iceberg that was once the world’s largest melts away

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 19-Apr-2021

I wrote a few days ago about the plea made in Parliament by SI’s Foreign Minister in which he cited the impact climate change is having on low lying islands in the Solomon Islands causing sea rise and called on the more developed nations to take stronger and united action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help in reducing global warming believed to be the cause of climate change.

That note I wrote struck home very much today when I read in the UK’s Independent newspaper that an iceberg, once claimed to have been the world’s largest has melted away.

I’ll share some of the story for readers.


A trillion-ton behemoth iceberg dubbed A-68, broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, on the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, in 2017. The iceberg being 160km in length yet only 200m thick.

The iceberg that was once the largest in the world has melted into several small fragments that are no longer worth tracking.

A68 weighed billions of tonnes and was bigger than the size of Norfolk when it broke away from the Larsen C ice shelf in the Weddell Sea on the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula in mid-2017.

The mammoth iceberg barely moved for a year before it started to drift up an area known as “iceberg alley” that leads north from Antarctica.

A68’s trajectory towards the coast of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean raised fears for wildlife, including penguins and seals, on the island.

It was originally thought that the iceberg could have lasted for several years, potentially taking up to a decade to melt, if it had become grounded on South Georgia.

But the iceberg broke up into smaller and smaller fragments about 140nm northeast of the British overseas territory.

The largest remaining piece of A68 was about 3x2nm but the fragments were considered no longer worth tracking by the US National Ice Centre.

Adrian Luckman, a glaciologist and professor of geology at Swansea University, said it was amazing that A68 lasted as long as it did.

Prof Luckman added that while the calving and demise of a single iceberg such as A68 cannot be directly attributed to climate change, “the loss of ice around Antarctica, which has increased by a factor of five since the 1990s, is certainly a result of changes in ocean heat and circulation.

End of quote.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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