The collapse of a giant glacier 10 times the size of Manhattan near Antarctica last week is a natural occurrence and has not been induced by global warming, according to the British Atlantic Survey (BAS). “From the size of it, 41 nautical miles long and four nautical miles wide, it sounds as though it is a normal ‘calving’ event from the ice front,” says BAS glaciologist Chris Doake.

Disintegration of the Ross ice shelf on Thursday in the Ross Sea follows the collapse in March of the Larsen B ice shelf in the Weddell Sea near Chile, also in Antarctica. That ice shelf was the size of a small European country.

Doake says the Larsen B’s break up took place in a different part of Antarctica and under a different set of circumstances, which are linked to rising global temperatures. “But this Ross ice shelf collapse isn’t climate related,” he says.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE) says it?s wrong to suggest there is no link between rising global temperatures and yet another glacier collapse. “What distinguishes naturally occurring events from climate change?” says FOE member Roger Higman. “Surely the question is whether rising temperatures might increase the rate of collapse — both glacial falls are consistent with the fact that that part of the world is getting warmer and the ice sheet is melting as a result.”

See news story ?Another Huge Iceberg Calves in Antarctica?, click here.

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