Doomsday is near..iceberg bigger than New York, London breaks

 London:An enormous iceberg has broken off from a  key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists have announced. The   iceberg weighs a staggering trillion tonnes and has an area of 5,800 sq   km. It was found to have split off from the Larsen C segment of the  ice  shelf on Wednesday after scientists examined the satellite data  from  the area, the Daily Mail reported.Scientists  at the University  of Swansea in Britain said they were expecting it.  They had been  following the development of a large crack in Larsen's  ice for more than  a decade.The final break happened between Monday  and Wednesday  and the calving of the iceberg, which is likely to be  named A68, reduces  the size of the ice Shelf by around 12 per cent,  said researchers.They said it will change the landscape of the Antarctic peninsula forever, ITV News reported."We   have been anticipating this event for months, and have been surprised   how long it took for the rift to break through the final few kilometres   of ice," said Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University, lead   investigator of the project."We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg."The   iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is   difficult to predict. It may remain in one piece but is more likely to   break into fragments," Professor Luckman said.Although the   iceberg weighs a trillion tonnes, it was already floating before it   calved away so will have no immediate impact on sea level, the   researchers said.While the researchers said the calving was a "natural event", it put the ice shelf in a vulnerable position.There   are concerns that Larsen C could follow the example of its  neighbouring  ice shelf Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 after a  similar event.Dr  Martin O'Leary, a Swansea University  glaciologist and member of the  Midas project team, said: "Although this  is a natural event, and we're  not aware of any link to human-induced  climate change, this puts the ice  shelf in a very vulnerable position.""This  is the furthest back  that the ice front has been in recorded history.  We're going to be  watching very carefully for signs that the rest of  the shelf is becoming  unstable."Luckman said, "In the ensuing  months and years, the  ice shelf could either gradually regrow, or may  suffer further calving  events which may eventually lead to collapse --  opinions in the  scientific community are divided.""Our models say it will be less stable, but any future collapse remains years or decades away."

If   the shelf loses much more area, it could result in glaciers which flow   off the land behind speeding up their path to the ocean, which could   have an eventual impact on sea levels -- though at a very modest rate,   the scientists said.

IANS