But this is not just another sad climate change story. It’s more complicated.
“A lot of things are going on deep inside the ice,” says Adrian Luckman, a glaciologist at Swansea University in the U.K. He’s also leading a project to track changes in the ice shelf.
Luckman says climate change is certainly influencing this region. Larsen C used to have two neighbors to the north, Larsen A and Larsen B. As the air and water warmed, those ice shelves started melting and then splintered into shards in 1995 and 2002.
But the crack in Larsen C seems to have happened on its own, for different reasons.
“This is probably not directly attributable to any warming in the region, although of course the warming won’t have helped,” says Luckman. “It’s probably just simply a natural event that’s just been waiting around to happen.”