An iceberg measuring 1,550 square kilometers, or almost the size of the greater London area, broke off from Antarctica on Sunday. The researchers say that such an event was expected and that it is not the result of climate change.
Scientists discovered the first cracks a decade ago, and in the last two years, two major fractures have occurred, according to the American CNN.
The latest separation occurred during a time of record low sea ice extent in Antarctica, where it is now summer. Although the reduction in ice surface area is always rapid at this time of year, it is “unusually fast this year”scientists of the American National Data Center warned center for snow and ice. In December, the smallest ice surface was measured in Antarctica in the 45 years since it has been measured by satellites.
The researchers say that the reason for the smaller ice surface is also the higher than normal air temperature. In November and December, the Ross Sea was two degrees Celsius above average. Strong winds were also a factor in reducing the amount of ice.
Antarctica has fluctuated greatly in terms of ice extent in recent decades, from record highs to record lows. In contrast to the Arctic, where scientists say the effects of climate change are accelerating, the surface of Antarctic sea ice fluctuates greatly.
Satellite data dating back to 1978 show that Antarctica already had record sea ice extent in 2014 and 2015, but that area suddenly declined in 2016 and has remained below average ever since.