*Phew* That was a close call or else it would have been like the Titanic all over again, this time Antarctica being the Titanic of course…
A few weeks ago, Antarctica’s Burnt Ice Shelf was on the verge of collapse as a 500 square miles free-floating iceberg almost crashed into it but thankfully missed by what could be a few inches. The intense, nail-biting clip of the A-74 iceberg swinging close by the Burnt Ice Shelf was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 spacecraft. If the outcome had been different and the A-74 iceberg had crashed into the Antarctica shelf, scientists believe that it would have broken off about 656 square miles worth of the ice shelf, speeding up the process of the ice continent already melting thanks to global warming.
Initially, the A-74 was part of the Burnt Ice Shelf that broke around February but stayed close by due to the large ocean currents. Fortunately, it didn’t crash into the ice shelf but its position is still vulnerable. In an ESA’s press release, Mark Drinkwater, an ESA researcher said, “The nose-shaped piece of the ice shelf, which is even larger than A-74, remains connected to the Brunt Ice Shelf, but barely. If the berg had collided more violently with this piece, it could have accelerated the fracture of the remaining ice bridge, causing it to break away. We will continue to routinely monitor the situation using Sentinel satellite imagery.”
The ice shelf has been in danger since 2017 when researchers stationed around it moved inland to avoid more cracks. But it seems like there’s little hope left for the ice shelf as climate change continues to progress at an alarming rate which will eventually lead to larger cracks in the ice shelf in the future.