Fresh iceberg ruptures in Patagonia raise alarm about global warming


Two new icebergs have broken off from the Grey Glacier in Chile’s Patagonia in recent weeks, amid fears such ruptures are becoming more frequent.

Scientists said the breaks occurred on 20 February and 7 March.

They came after a larger block of ice the size of three football fields separated from the glacier, which sits in a glacial lake in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, in November 2017.

The most significant rupture to the glacier before that was recorded in the early 1990s.

Scientists have linked the increased frequency of ice breaks to rising temperatures.

“There is a greater frequency in the occurrence of break-off in this east side of the glacier and more data is required to assess its stability,” said Ricardo Jana, researcher and member of the climate change area of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH).

In recent days, “temperature rises above the normal average and intense rainfall were registered together with an increase in water level in the lake, factors that could explain the separation”, he added.

Researchers from universities in Germany and Brazil, together with experts from INACH and other local entities, have been studying the Grey Glacier since 2015 under an international cooperation program.

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In December of this year, Chile will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 25.


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