World’s largest iceberg, four times the size of Abu Dhabi, breaks off from Antarctica

Satellite image shows the huge berg floating in the Weddell Sea

The world's largest iceberg, more than four times the size of Abu Dhabi at 4,320 square kilometres, calved off an Antarctic ice shelf. European Space Agency 
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The world’s largest iceberg, four times the size of Abu Dhabi, is in the ocean off Antarctica after a huge chunk of ice broke off from the Ronne Ice Shelf.

A satellite image captured by the European Space Agency shows the iceberg floating in the Weddell Sea.

It measures about 4,320 square kilometres and is 170km in length and 25km wide.

The British Antarctic Survey spotted the iceberg, named A-76 by scientists. The US National Ice Centre confirmed it using satellite imagery.

“An enormous iceberg has calved from the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf, lying in the Weddell Sea, in Antarctica. The iceberg, dubbed A-76, measures around 4,320 sq km in size – currently making it the largest berg in the world,” the European Space Agency said.

The Ronne Ice Shelf is one of the largest bodies of floating ice. Calving is part of a natural cycle, different to when ice breaks off from glaciers and melts into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.

“Because ice shelves already float in the ocean, they do not contribute directly to sea level rise when they break up,” the National Snow and Ice Data Centre said.

“However, ice shelf collapse could contribute to sea level rise indirectly. Ice streams and glaciers constantly push on ice shelves, but the shelves eventually come up against coastal features such as islands and peninsulas, building pressure that slows their movement into the ocean.”

Another huge iceberg, A-23A, was previously recorded in the Weddell Sea and measured about 3,880 sq km.

Another that broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in February was 1,270 sq km in size.

Last year, a huge iceberg, A-68A, was on a collision course with the South Atlantic penguin colony island of South Georgia.

However, it eventually broke apart and moved farther away.

One of the largest recorded icebergs – in pictures