An iceberg about the quarter of the size of Wales has broken away from Antarctica, scientists have announced today.
It didn’t come as a surprise to the team of scientists, who have been following the development of a large crack in the ice for more than 10 years.
The growth of the crack, however, which was in a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf, has been speeding up since 2014.
‘The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict,’ said Adrian Luckman, professor at Swansea University and lead investigator of Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf for years, told Reuters.
‘It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters.’
If it drifts north, the trillion-tonne iceberg could become a danger to ships, with the region being the main destination for cruise ships visiting from South America.
The iceberg won’t have an immediate impact on sea levels, as it was already floating before it broke away.
Large icebergs naturally break off Antarctica, so scientists aren’t directly linking the break to manmade climate change. But the ice is a part of the Antarctic peninsula that has been warming quickly in recent decades.
‘In the ensuring months and years, the ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may suffer further calving events which may eventually lead to collapse – opinions in the scientific community are divided,’ added Luckman.
How can you help
1. Make a change
There are dozens of ways that you can cut down on your carbon footprint. Even if it doesn’t feel like much, if everyone put some thought into making their lifestyle greener it would make such a big difference.
So have a Google, see what ideas would work best for you, and make the change!
Here are five ideas to get you started:
When doing a clothes wash, set the machine to cold or warm water–not hot. To dry your clothes, use a clothes line instead of a tumble dryer and you’ll save on energy use. It’ll save you money and it’ll help save the planet.
When cooking, cover your pots to save on the energy needed to make dinner. Pressure cookers and steamers are even better!
Choose products that come with less packaging, and buy refills when you can. For example, loads of coffee brands are getting in on the low-packaging act, and selling refill bags so you don’t have to use a jar every time.
Find the local farmers markets in your area. It’s a great way to support your local community, and it saves on the energy needed to get your produce to you because it doesn’t need to be shipped half way round the world.
Eat less meat! You don’t have to go full veggie, which can be intimidating, but cutting your meat consumption down to one or two days a week will make a great positive impact. If you’re worried about taking the plunge alone, why not try Meat Free Mondays?
You can read more tips from the We Make Change team here.
Friends of the Earth has put together an amazing list of easy ways to live greener, that you can find here. Check out the one about weird and wonderful ways to use a rubber band to help the planet!
2. Watch this and show the love
The Climate Coalition–a group of over 130 organisations across the UK, along with Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland –has made this beautiful love song to our planet.
3. Plant a tree
It will make you feel great, and a single tree can absorb around a tonne of carbon dioxide in its lifetime so it’s win-win.
If you don’t have a garden, get a few potted plants for your kitchen or living room and you can bring some hippy chic to your home too.
4. Call for Fossil Free
The aim of the Fossil Free divestment movement is to weaken the political influence of the fossil fuel industry, to prevent it holding back action on climate change.
5. Go swish!
This is ethical clothing at its finest, and counteracts all that disposable fashion that drives sweatshops and huge transportation costs and energy expenditure.
Swishing is essentially clothes swapping, getting rid of the old and bringing in the new to refresh your wardrobe.