Have you ever been entertained by a dystopian film, but also grateful for not having to live through those terrible times? Well, it turns out that those magical worlds are slowly sauntering into our own, and we can no longer ponder and laugh hysterically at the idea that there will be a zombie apocalypse in the next century, because, by the second, this world is getting more confusing and dangerous, mainly due to the existence of one species: humans.
Earlier last week, the iceberg known as A76 broke off of the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and is currently floating in the Weddell Sea. The iceberg, nearly half the size of Puerto Rico, measures a staggering 1,668 square miles (4,320 square kilometers) in surface area, making it the largest in the world. While researchers have said that this iceberg was reaching the end of a regular life span, glaciologist Dr. M. Jackson from National Geographic commented that climate change was still a key factor in the loss of this iceberg. In a statement, she said, “Although the Weddell Sea is not warming as quickly as other parts of the Antarctic [and Greenland], the impact of climate change in the region cannot be discounted, and it is hard to disconnect what happened with the Ronne Ice Shelf from the larger problem. I am concerned with any ice loss today, because any ice loss is part of our greater global ice loss and to me it’s terrifying. Globally, we’ve got a glacier problem; we’re losing a lot of ice.”
While we should not completely disregard this problem, researchers have fortunately ensured that the iceberg will not end in a sea level rise as it melts; as floating ice, it is already displacing the same amount of water as it will produce when it melts. Nevertheless, the one question that is rushing through all of our minds is what will happen next with A76?
As the New York Times reported, “An iceberg about 100 miles long and 30 miles wide that had broken off from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017 raised alarm in November when it appeared to be on a collision course with the British island territory of South Georgia. That iceberg, A68a, ended up grounding off the island’s coast. If A76 hits a similar current, it could reach the Antarctic Peninsula within months and could interfere with shipping lanes there, said Christopher Readinger, the Ice Center’s Antarctica team lead.” The domino effect of climate change will not just affect the ice and snow around us, it will also affect everything we have, even cargo deliveries to and from Antarctica.
Think about it like this: one day, you’re chucking snowballs at your best friend while simultaneously building a snow empire with a snow fort, an ice gate, and a mascot (probably a snowman), and the next, you’re mourning the loss of snow days when you didn’t have to fake being sick, and could still skip school. Obviously it won’t be as immediately drastic as I mentioned here, but it will likely become our reality in the next 100 years. I don’t know about you, but I am seriously looking forward to having snow days. And if you are too, we must do something about climate change.