Many climate change alarmists were in full panic mode on Wednesday after scientists announced that a truly massive sheet of ice weighing 1 trillion tons and the size of Delaware had finally broken off of the continent. The fear continued during the evening broadcasts of the Big Three Networks as ABC and NBC were more than happy to contribute to the hysteria.
“At the bottom of the world tonight a massive fracture on the continent of Antarctica has caused one of the biggest icebergs on record to break away into the ocean. It's so big it could fill Lake Erie twice over,” hyped Anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News. “NBC News National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer with the extraordinary details.”
National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer cranked up the horror right out of the gate when he declared: “Tonight in Antarctica, a titanic shift in our planet's landscape … Its size is stunning, a block of ice weighing 1 trillion tons, roughly the size of Delaware.” He did briefly admit that ice shelf breaks were “not unusual,” but he followed it up by claiming that “this event is redefining geography.”
“Scientists say, for now, there is no consensus whether this break is linked to climate change but say the region is in peril,” Almaguer fretted. He then played a clip of a man who asserted that “Antarctica is losing mass at an alarming rate. That is a climate warming signal much more important than this iceberg.” The man was presumably a scientist but it’s impossible to know for sure because there was no indication of who he was, either from the NBC reporter verbally or an on-screen chyron.
On ABC’s World News Tonight, Anchor David Muir put on his serious face and announced that “And from the bottom of the Earth this evening, one of the largest icebergs ever recorded has now broken away from the Antarctic ice shelf. Scientists have been concerned for some time about this.”
The report was short, but reporter Lindsey Davis managed to hit most of the talking points. “Scientists are calling the split an enormous geographical event and are studying what role, if any, regional warming may have played,” she said. “Disappearing ice is an issue on both poles, as we saw firsthand during a visit to Baffin Island, just off the coast of Greenland in 2012.” She didn’t talk to any scientists during her segment.
CBS Evening News was the only network in the Big Three to not go over the top even though they did push climate change. In fact, Anchor Anthony Mason noted that “as alarming as that sounds, scientists are urging everyone to chill.”
“At more than 2,200 square miles, the massive fracture certainly looks dramatic, but scientists are not pressing the panic button just yet,” explained reporter Debora Patta. She also asked Glaciologist David Vaughan if there was anything to worry about right now, and he responded with: “At the moment, I would categorically say no.”
Vaughan made it clear that it would take some time to assess if the break-off was the result of climate change or something else (perhaps it broke off because it weighed 1 trillion tons). But Patta still pushed the climate change angle. “The warmer temperatures have seen some ice shelves retreat to such a point that they are unable to regenerate. Scientists will now be able to determine if this is one such case,” she said.
NBC Nightly News
July 12, 2017
7:08:33 PM Eastern
LESTER HOLT: At the bottom of the world tonight a massive fracture on the continent of Antarctica has caused one of the biggest icebergs on record to break away into the ocean. It's so big it could fill Lake Erie twice over. NBC News national correspondent Miguel Almaguer with the extraordinary details.
[Cuts to video]
MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Tonight in Antarctica, a titanic shift in our planet's landscape. A massive iceberg, one of the largest in recorded history, has broken away from an ice shelf known as Larsen C. Its size is stunning, a block of ice weighing 1 trillion tons, roughly the size of Delaware.
DAVID VAUGHAN: That crack has finally gone through all the way and formed an iceberg. And that iceberg is now free to move off into the Southern Ocean and to melt.
ALMAGUER: NASA is tracking it all, surveying the ice and mapping its movement. Though change to ice shelves in the coldest continent on our planet is not unusual, this event is redefining geography. Over the last several years scientists watched the rift slowly grow reaching 120 miles in length, a 2200 square mile chunk of ice breaking away.
That separation is called calving. Scientists say for now there is no consensus whether this break is linked to climate change but say the region is in peril.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Antarctica is losing mass at an alarming rate. That is a climate warming signal much more important than this iceberg.
ALMAGUER: Tonight scientists say the iceberg will likely have no direct impact on our lives but warn this is a snapshot of our changing world. Miguel Almaguer, NBC News.
CBS Evening News
July 12, 2017
ANTHONY MASON: Breaking news now from the bottom of the planet. One of the world's largest icebergs has broken away from a tremendous ice sheet in Antarctica. As alarming as that sounds, scientists are urging everyone to chill. Here's Debora Patta.
[Cuts to video]
DEBORA: It's been hanging on by a thread for months. But finally a giant chunk of ice the size of Delaware has snapped off. At more than 2,200 square miles, the massive fracture certainly looks dramatic, but scientists are not pressing the panic button just yet. If the fracturing of this ice berg cause for alarm?
DAVID VAUGHAN: At the moment, I would categorically say no.
PATTA: Glaciologist David Vaughan says, it’s all part of the regular housekeeping in the Antarctic, But may provide scientific clues long term.
VAUGHAN: The question is whether this is the beginning of a retreat of this ice shelf that may eventually be linked to climate change.
PATTA: An ice shelf is a permanent floating sheet of ice attached to land. An iceberg will snap off every few decades, but the ice shelf usually grows again as it gains new ice from land. The warmer temperatures have seen some ice shelves retreat to such a point that they are unable to regenerate. Scientists will now be able to determine if this is one such case.
VAUGHAN: We will take sediment samples beneath the ice shelf and it will tell us how often this type of event has concerned in the past.
PATTA: Of more immediate concern, however, is that without a shelf to hold it back, the glacial ice behind it will flow into the sea and contribute the driving sea levels up more quickly than predicted for this century. Debora Patta, CBS News, London.