British researchers who have been monitoring a crack in the Larsen C ice shelf found that since December it has grown by 27 kilometres (17 miles).
The crack reaches over 100 miles in length and, in some areas two miles in width.
The eventual break will create the largest iceberg ever recorded.
Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the rift for several years, says that the ice will break free “within the next few months”.
Why is this important?
Traditionally ice shelves hold back glaciers. If one breaks off – especially the size of Larsen C – ice will flow faster from land to ocean and “contribute more quickly to sea level rise”.
MIDAS concludes that this particular crack was not the result of global warming.
Scientists warn that melting ice caps can trigger 19 “tipping points”, and cause climate change which will be felt across the world.
Eric J. Rignot told the New York Times:
You have these two anchors on the side of Larsen C that play a critical role in holding the ice shelf where it is.
If the shelf is getting thinner, it will be more breakable and it will lose contact with the ice rises.
We’re not even sure how it’s hanging on there but if you take away Bawden, the whole shelf will feel it.