Iceberg the size of Sacramento breaks off Antarctica

A 103-square-mile chunk of ice has broken off Antarctica, the latest chunk of massive ice to leave the continent. For comparison, the iceberg is approximately the same size as Sacramento, CA, the sixth largest city in California, and the 35th largest city in the country.

The Washington Post reports the iceberg disconnected from Pine Island Glacier, a part of West Antarctica that already loses 45 billion tons of ice annually, contributing to sea level rises.

The break comes two months after a 2,200 square-mile piece of ice detached from Antarctica in July. At nearly the size of Delaware, the iceberg was one of the largest ever recorded. In 2014, a 255-square-mile iceberg also calved from Antarctica.

The iceberg is now “producing a batch of smaller icebergs as it drifts out to sea,” Gizmodo reports.  Pine Island Glacier, the website reported, is the “fastest-melting glacier in Antarctica.”

At the time of the July iceberg, Britsh researchers at Project MIDAS said there wasn’t evidence tying the iceberg to climate change. Yet, warming oceans and temperatures have been widely accepted as causes of other examples of deteriorating ice shelves.

NASA and two Ohio State University scientists studying Pine Island Glacier confirmed the break, the Washington Post reported. OSU’s Seongsu Jeong and Ian Howat published findings, that shows rifts in Pine Island have started to form in the center of the glacier, according to the Post. The Post said the scientists “suspect this is a function of warmer ocean waters reaching the base of the glacier and weakening it.”

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