An iceberg the size of the city of São Paulo broke off on Sunday (22) from the ice shelf near a British scientific station in Antarctica, a group of scientists announced on Monday (23).
Despite the region being threatened by global warming, the detachment is not due to climate change, pointed out the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), an organization that studies the polar regions.
The block of ice, measuring 1,550 km², broke away from the ice sheet between 4 pm and 5 pm (Brasília time) on Sunday, after the strong tide increased the crack that already existed in the ice shelf, BAS detailed.
Another iceberg of similar size had already broken off two years ago in this same region, called the Brunt Ice Shelf and on which the British science base Halley 6th is located.
Large cracks in the ice shelves have been widening over the past decade, according to glaciologists.
In 2016, BAS decided to move the Halley 6th base to another place located about 20 km away for fear that it would be adrift on an iceberg.
“This detachment was expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It is not linked to climate change,” explained glaciologist Dominic Hodgson, quoted in a note.
The continent, however, suffers the consequences of global warming. Last year, record temperatures were recorded in the region.
In February 2022, the extent of ice in that part reached the lowest level ever recorded in 44 years of satellite observations, recently indicated the annual report of the European program on climate change Copernicus.
In 2021, the melting of an iceberg, 4,000 km north of the place where it broke off in 2017, released more than 150 billion tons of fresh water mixed with nutrients, which worried scientists about the impact on a fragile ecosystem.