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We’re all gonna die! A giant section of the Antarctic ice shelf, about the size of the state of Delaware, has finally broken off from the main ice cap.
The Science article immediately tries to tie this event to global warming, as articles in this pro-global warming journal are always eager to do. The problem is that there is no way to really do that, as the author himself is forced to admit.
Climate change has a new poster child: a massive iceberg the size of Delaware—one of the largest ever recorded—that early this week calved off Larsen C, the largest remaining ice shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists announced today. Although researchers cannot explicitly connect the calving event to warming air or water, those monitoring the event are now concerned that the entire shelf, after shedding more than 12% of its area, could follow the fate of its more northern peers, Larsens A and B, which collapsed entirely in 1995 and 2002, respectively.
The Antarctic icecap has been growing in recent decades. Just because a big piece broke off this week tells us nothing about the overall global climate. Furthermore, take a look at the map at the link. On the scale of the entire Antarctica icecap this iceberg is actually only a tiny piece. Such calving events are actually the normal process that occurs at the icecap, and every scientist who studies this subject knows it. Like a glacier, the icecap accumulates snow and ice in its center, which slowly flows outward to the sea, where it eventually breaks off to rejoin the Earth’s normal water cycle. There presently is little evidence that more ice is exiting the icecap than is accumulating at its center.