A chunk of ice the size of Manhattan has broken away from Antarctica because of rising temperatures in the waters surrounding the continent, according to experts.

Satellite images released by NASA show a mile-long (1.6km) section of the Pine Island Glacier separating from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet between 24 and 31 January.

The glacier’s last major iceberg break – an event known as calving – was in July 2015 when 225 square miles broke away from the glacier.

The most recent chunk is 10 times smaller, about the size of the island of Manhattan (22.7 square miles or 59 square km).

I think this event is the calving equivalent of an ‘aftershock’ following the much bigger event, said Ohio State University glaciologist Ian Howat.

Apparently, there are weaknesses in the ice shelf – just inland of the rift that caused the 2015 calving – that are resulting in these smaller breaks.

Climate change and the warming ocean have been linked to the retreat and melt of the world’s ice.

According to Mr Howat, such rapid fire calving does appear to be unusual for this glacier.

But he added that the phenomenon fits into the larger picture of basal crevasses in the centre of the ice shelf being eroded by warm ocean water, causing the ice shelf to break from the inside out.

(c) Sky News 2017: Manhattan-sized iceberg breaks away from glacier in Antarctica

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