NASA shared a photo of that Delaware-sized iceberg from space. It's huge.

'Will the glaciers behind the ice shelf accelerate and have a direct contribution to sea level rise?'

Are we on a sinking ship, watching dreadfully as the sea rises around us, an iceberg — bobbing in the distance — the telltale sign of our demise?

No, I'm not talking about what happened to passengers of the Titanic. I'm talking about the ridiculously massive chunk of ice — roughly the size of Delaware — that broke off from an Antarctic ice sheet last week.

Just as a reminder, here's Delaware:

Image via Google Earth.


Sure, Delaware might seem pretty small when you compare it to, say, Alaska or Texas. But a chunk of ice as large as Delaware — about 2,200 square miles, or over seven times the size of New York City — is simply enormous for what's basically one of Mother Earth's ice cubes.

The iceberg is so big, you can see it from space.

Imagery acquired by NASA on July 12, 2017, really helps put its size in perspective.

This infrared image taken from space reflects a "false-color view" of the region, according to NASA; the darker the blue hue, the warmer the temperature. Image via NASA.

To better understand why we have this humungous piece of floating ice on our hands, we have to go back three years.

According to NASA, a crack that'd been slowly inching along Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf suddenly began accelerating in size and scope in 2014.

In the GIF below, you can watch that crack — highlighted in pink — go from taking baby steps forward from 2006-2014, to suddenly chugging along several miles a year, 2014-2017.

The crack eventually caused a rift deep and long enough, and that's what caused the iceberg to break off.

Dan McGrath, a glaciologist at Colorado State University, said scientists aren't exactly sure what changed in 2014 that allowed the rift to expand so rapidly, but, in all likelihood, human-created climate change didn't help.

"The Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the fastest warming places on the planet throughout the latter half of the 20th century," he said. "We haven’t made a direct connection with the warming climate. Still, there are definitely mechanisms by which this rift could be linked to climate change, most notably through warmer ocean waters eating away at the base of the shelf."

Although this iceberg has caused quite the stir, the truly telling developments will come later, experts believe.

This latest iceberg removed more than 10% of that particular ice shelf, The New York Times reported, and that could speed up the flow of glacial water into the ocean.

To put it simply, that would not be good.

"It’s significant as a sign of what is happening to Antarctica as a whole," former Vice President Al Gore explained to Stephen Colbert of what we can learn from the event. "This particular ice shelf, it’s already floating, so it won’t raise sea level, but if the others behind it also come off, that could release more land-based ice that would raise sea levels."

It's a big question NASA scientists are asking, too.

"The interesting thing is what happens next," said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland. "Will the glaciers behind the ice shelf accelerate and have a direct contribution to sea level rise? Or is this just a normal calving event?"

Only time (and our collective desire to confront climate change) will tell.

Heroes

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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