Antarctica DISCOVERY: British scientists find melting iceberg the size of BRISTOL

The massive iceberg was spotted by the HMS Protector as it was doing a survey of the South Shetland Islands. The ship was deployed to update maps of Antarctica and to allow scientists access to more remote research stations around the freezing south pole. However, on the voyage, the HMS Protector, which Deception Island was the final destination, came across the massive iceberg.

The iceberg is a staggering 11 miles in length and it so big that it shows on satellite imagery of the Bransfield Strait, which separates the South Shetland Island chain from the end of the Antarctic Peninsula.

For perspective, the iceberg which sank the Titanic was only a few hundred feet long.

Captain Matty Syrett, commanding officer of Protector, said: "The large iceberg we sailed past was an astonishing 11 miles by five.

"Along its edge large chunks of ice had calved off, leaving the appearance of a cave system.”

With an area of around 55 square miles (142 square kilometres), the iceberg is larger than Bournemouth, Poole and almost as big as Bristol.

The massive piece of ice is so big that it has been given an official designation, A57A, and it is believed to have broken away from the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf in the Weddell Sea more than a decade ago.

Still, it is dwarfed by 10 other icebergs in the region which have broken away from Antarcitca in the last 30 years, as a result of climate change.

The largest of the huge chunks of ice which scientists have discovered was more than twice the size of Norfolk.

That iceberg took five years to melt and break up.

Nonetheless, it is bad news for us as the more of Antarctica which breaks away, the more sea levels will rise.

Previous research has shown that Antarctica is losing 200 billion tonnes a year of ice.

Not only does the ice caps melting lead to rising sea levels, but it will contribute to more natural disasters.

Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds and lead author of an earlier study published in the journal Nature, said: "Around Brooklyn you get flooding once a year or so, but if you raise sea level by 15 centimetres then that's going to happen 20 times a year.”

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