ODU expert explains giant iceberg split

13News Now talked with ODU Ocean Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor John Klinck on Skype Wednesday.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) --- 13News Now spoke with ODU Ocean Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor John Klinck on Skype Wednesday.

“This is a fairly big piece of an ice shelf,” said Klinck.

The piece Klinck is referring to is a floating iceberg the size of Connecticut, and it just separated from the ice shelf known as Larsen-C into the waters of Antartica.

“We are surprised by the timing of these events,” said Klinck. “But no one is surprised that Larsen is continuing to break into pieces.”

Scientists have been keeping a close eye on a series of artic ice shelves for years.

But the size of the break is something that isn’t seen often. It’s about half the size of the largest iceberg ever recorded.

“This ice that’s falling into the ocean is being replaced by snow,” said Klinck. “But what we’re seeing in West Antarctica-- those glaciers are getting much smaller. That’s a concern.”

Klinck says while the break causes more ice to slide off the continent, the separation itself isn’t an immediate threat to sea level rise here in Hampton Roads.

“You can do this experiment at home by taking a glass of water and putting an ice cube in it,” said Klinck. “The water in the glass goes up, but as you wait for the ice cube to melt, the water level doesn’t change because the effect of the floating ice has already occurred.”

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