Local experts speak about the potential impacts of Antarctica ice break


The ice sheet that broke off of Antarctica is said to be the size of Delaware. While that may not seem like much, experts say that this sheet weighs about 100 trillion tons.

Is this kind of behavior odd, though? We spoke with Dr. Chris Gregg to find out.

"This is the life cycle of development of big glacial fields, ice shelves and their demise over long periods of time." Gregg's colleague, Dr. Andrew Joyner echoed that statement when we spoke with him early on Thursday.

"These kinds of events are natural events."

This great crack is nothing new either. It's been going on since mapping started. But now, the appearance on a map may change a little.

Does this change more than just what we see on a map? That answer is tricky. We spoke with Dr. Joyner, more specifically, on a warming climate's role (if any).

Joyner says, "It's tough to say..." because these events "...have certainly occurred throughout time whether it's been a warming or cooling climate."

Does this ice sheet breaking off mean that sea level will rise?

The worst-case scenario would be a 1 cm rise in sea levels. That may not seem like much to you, but for low-lying marshes - it is.

The real issue would start if parts of the ice sheet would break into warmer waters and melt. This could cause problems, starting with if any icebergs got into shipping channels.

Keep in mind, though, that we won't notice any changes today or tomorrow. These potential impacts would take years to be noticed, if at all.