Probably know. It was on the Internet.
Among the details that have been repeated to the point of satiety:
The iceberg is about the size of Delaware, which sparked an amusing reflection on Twitter about where Delaware is exactly and how the whole world is supposed to approach the size of the American state.
The ice, which was named A68, representing more than 12% of the ice shelf Larsen C, a tape in the Antarctic Peninsula. And most importantly: none of this has anything to do with climate change is man.
The problem: this last detail – the weather – is misleading at best.
I spent most of Thursday on the phone with scientists, and communicating the huge iceberg in Antarctica and what it meant. Here are my five takeaways.
1. This is not seen as climate change.
There is no disagreement among climate scientists on the question of whether humans are warming the Earth by burning fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. We are. And we see the consequences.
But there is a problem as to whether there is enough evidence to link the breakdown of this particular piece of ice to global warming.
In a widely quoted statement, Martin O’Leary, a glaciologist at Swansea University, who was part of the Larsen C team, said that iceberg calving was “a natural event” and that “we do not know of any link to Humans – Caused climate change “.
Everyone does not agree with this assessment, however.
In 6000 square kilometers, the Larsen C ice sheet could be one of the largest icebergs ever built in the world.
Source: European Space Agency
“They see in it through a microscope” they see macro trends, including the fact that the oceans surrounding Antarctica are warming, which helps to lose weight from the ice, said Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished scientist in the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“For me, it’s the unmistakable signature of the impact of climate change on Larsen C,” said Eric Rignot, glaciologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA and the University of California, Irvine.
“This is not a natural cycle, it is the system’s response to a warmer climate at the top and bottom, nothing else can cause this.”
Rignot said his colleagues would say otherwise in the head enfournent “on the ice.”
2. That being said, this s *** is complicated.
The difference of opinion arises, in part, to the lack of perceived data. Compared to other parts of the world, Antarctica is cold, strange, remote and difficult to study.
Some scientists say they do not have very long-term datasets they would need to demonstrate that the warming caused by humans affects this particular sheet of ice.
On the contrary, they can not refute the contribution of global warming either.
“I do not see clear evidence that it convinces me that this is climate change,” said Christopher Shuman, a research scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center at NASA and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “I think we have to wait and see. We must watch carefully and wait for the signs.”
If the Larsen C ice shelf continues to collapse, he said, we know that climate change has something to do with this week’s events.
Otherwise, his theory is confirmed, ie the iceberg is part of a natural cycle of childbirth and regeneration.