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The Larger-than NYC Iceberg that just Broke Off Antarctica

Last week a 490-square-mile iceberg broke free of Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf. It’s kind of a big deal for scientists who have been expecting it, the last calving that happened in that area was in the 1970s. But there have been a few even larger icebergs break off the continent in recent years, like the 630-square-mile one in 2019 or the largest one ever recorded in 2017 at around 2,000-square-miles.

Calving, which is the technical term used when a piece of an ice shelf breaks off and forms an iceberg, is a common and normal occurrence, and doesn’t necessarily signal climate change. But it is starting to happen more frequently…like, a lot more frequently. In the 80s, Antarctica lost 40 billion tons of ice a year on average through calving, but in the past 10 years that number has multiplied by more than 6 times. That statistic is undeniably worrisome.

Did you know ice bergs are actually massive chunks of frozen fresh water, not salt water? It is wild to think that most of the Earth’s fresh water is frozen, and as we use up our drinkable water faster than it can replenish itself, frozen fresh water reserves are melting into the ocean. If only there was something we could do to rehabilitate our rivers and streams, while simultaneously slowing sea-level rise and maybe keeping these frozen fresh water behemoths from floating away and eventually falling into the ocean forever.

A little cliff hanger, come back and read my next article discussing all things water soon!

Margo Davison

Margo is a life-long student of Nature and lover of the Road. She spends her time thinking about plants and bugs and our delicate interdependent relationship with them. After being a nomad and living off-grid in the New Mexico high desert, she is currently playing house in the Ozarks.

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