A shot as large as Bali will soon break down the sea ice at the South Pole and form one of the largest icebergs of all time. In the worst case, the sea level can rise by 10 centimeters worldwide.
The crack in the ice at the South Pole is now 113 kilometers long. One of the largest icebergs in the world is likely to emerge.
Only 20 kilometers of ice prevents a huge ice floe from coming loose from the Larsen C ice sheet in the sea near the west of Antarctica.
In December 2016, a crack in the ice sheet grew by no less than 18 kilometers within a few weeks, making it 113 kilometers long now.
"It will surprise me if the ice floe doesn't break down within a few months," said Adrian Luckman, professor at Swansea University in Wales.
Crack is growing fast
The ice floe extends over 5000 km2 and is therefore as large as the island of Bali. If it breaks down, it enters the top 10 of the largest icebergs ever observed.
The crack in the ice sheet has been around for decades, but it has grown rapidly in the last six years - especially in December 2016.
The crack in the Larsen C ice sheet is about 100 meters wide and 350 meters deep.© NASA
Scientists think that development is related to global warming, but have no concrete evidence for that.
World seas can rise 10 cm
A horror scenario is that the Larsen C ice sheet itself will become unstable, causing more cracks. In the worst case, the ice sheet collapses.
If the ice caps fall apart at sea, there is nothing left to prevent the glacier ice behind sinking into the sea. And more ice in the sea means a higher water level.
If all the ice lands behind Larsen C in the sea, the sea level will rise by 10 centimeters worldwide.
That does not happen in one go, but if it happens, low-lying countries such as the Marshall Islands, Tonga and the Maldives are at risk.