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Daily News Analysis

Antarctic iceberg A68a

28th December, 2020 Environment

Context: The giant iceberg A68, the biggest block of free-floating ice from Antarctica with an area of about 5,800 sq. km, has been drifting in the Atlantic Ocean since 2017.

  • This year, due to an ocean current, the iceberg was propelled into the South Atlantic Ocean and since then it has been drifting towards the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, prompting fears about the impact the iceberg could have on the island’s abundant wildlife.
  • Icebergs travel with ocean currents and either get caught up in shallow waters or ground themselves.

What is A68a and where is it headed?

  • A68a, an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware, split off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017.
  • US National Ice Center (USNIC) confirmed that two new icebergs calved from A68a and were large enough to be named and tracked.
  • They are called A68E and A68F.

Why did the iceberg calve?

  • The iceberg’s calving is thought to be a natural event and not a result of climate change.
  • However, some models predict that a warming Antarctica in the future could mean more calving events as ice shelves and glaciers retreat.