The Larsen C ice shelf — Antarctica's fourth-largest ice shelf, roughly the size of Delaware — has a massive crack that is rapidly growing.
Since December 2016, the crack has grown by about 17 miles, according to The New York Times. It is now more than 100 miles in length, and roughly two miles wide.
Eventually, when the crack extends all the way across the ice shelf, it will create one of the largest icebergs in history.
A research team, Project Midas, has been observing the rift since 2014.
According to Adrian J. Luckman of Swansea University in Wales, the lead researcher for the project,
The iceberg is likely to break free within the next few months. The rift tip has moved from one region of likely softer ice to another, which explains its step-wise progress.
Why should you care?
Ice shelves hold back glaciers.
Scientists are concerned that the collapse of ice shelves will lead to much higher sea levels, due to the fact climate change is contributing to the melting of glaciers.
As NASA recently put it,
Ice shelves are the floating parts of ice streams and glaciers, and they buttress the grounded ice behind them; when ice shelves collapse, the ice behind accelerates toward the ocean, where it then adds to sea level rise.
The collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf will apparently not lead to a massive rise in sea level.
But, according to the New York Times, scientists view what's happening with Larsen C as a sign larger amounts of ice in West Antarctica "could be vulnerable."
This is precisely why we should be concerned about climate change.
Higher sea levels are very bad news for coastal cities and their inhabitants.
Whether we like it or not, climate change is real, it's happening and it's a product of human activities.
It's imperative we face the music and work together to address what's happening to the planet.