An ice floe the size of Rome has collapsed in Antarctica, which has seen days of record high temperatures, satellite images show.
Scientists said “almost all” of what was left of the Conger Ice Shelf turned into an iceberg in the past week.
It comes as Antarctica experienced temperatures 40C warmer than usual, with new records set and a site well above the melting point.
The Arctic has also seen much warmer than normal temperatures, setting off alarm from scientists who say it is “unusual” for both poles to melt at the same time.
As temperatures soared in Antarctica last week, scientists discovered that the Conger ice shelf had collapsed.
The US National Ice Center said an iceberg calved off the shelf in the Wilkes Land area. It had a dimension of 1,200 km2 – almost the size of Rome.
This iceberg “comprised practically all that remained of the Conger pack ice”, the American scientists said.
He was sitting next to another ice shelf that had calved the previous week.
The US National Ice Center said the Conger ice shelf calved on Thursday last week.
The next day, the Antarctic continent as a whole was Friday 4.8 ° C warmer than a reference temperature between 1979 and 2000, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyser, based on weather models from the National Oceanic United States Atmospheric Administration.
Walt Meier, an ice scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado in the United States, said it was unusual to see this level of heating compared to an already warmed average.
In February, the extent of Antarctic sea ice – the area of ice that covers the ocean at any given time – reached a record high at 830,000 square miles, nearly 30% less than average.