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Massive Iceberg “Larsen C” is now Adrift

2The iceberg is considered unlikely to pose any threat to shipping

This is a Feb. 2017 image of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica made available by the Antarctic Survey on Wednesday July 12, 2017. A vast iceberg with twice the volume of Lake Erie has broken off from a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists said Wednesday. The iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, scientists at the University of Swansea in Britain said. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion U.S. tons). (British Antarctic Survey via AP)

Scientists say global warming has caused a thinning of such shelves, but they differ on whether the latest event can be blamed on climate change.

The iceberg is considered unlikely to pose any threat to shipping. And since the ice was already floating, the breakup won’t raise sea levels in the short term, the project said in a statement.

It removed more than 10 percent of the ice shelf, and if that eventually hastens the flow of glaciers behind it into the water, there could be a “very modest” rise in sea level, the project said.

Two other Antarctic ice shelves, farther north on the Antarctic Peninsula, collapsed in 1995 and 2002. That sped up the slide of glaciers, which contributed to sea-level rise, David Vaughan, director of science at the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement.

” Our glaciologists will now be watching closely to see whether the remaining Larsen C ice shelf becomes less stable than before the iceberg broke free,” he said.

Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, said the breaking off of the iceberg “is part of a long-term major loss of the ice shelves in the peninsula, progressing southbound and resulting from climate warming.”