You don’t have to be on The International Ice Patrol to know that a trillion-ton chunk of ice the size of Delaware—that just broke free in the Antarctic— is worth paying attention to. 

UPDATE July 12, 2017: 

On Wednesday, July 12, 2017, news came across the wires that the ice shelf calved sometime between Monday and Wednesday, producing a trillion ton iceberg. Yes, that’s ‘trillion’ with a ‘t’. The break was captured by NASA technology. If you’re worried about the impact on sea levels, Project Midas researchers say you can rest easy—for now. “It was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level,” they wrote in a blog post published this morning.


Unless you’re obsessed with the Antarctic or other ice-cold climates, it’s unlikely that you think about icebergs on a regular basis.

And yet, there are thousands of people around the globe who do exactly that, working for governmental and intergovernmental agencies you’ve probably never heard of: The Canadian Ice Service. The US National Ice Center. The International Ice Patrol. Their jobs? To use terms like “ice forecasting” and “tactical scale ice and snow products” as they monitor the gigantic ice cubes bobbing around in the world’s oceans, collecting data and trying to minimize impact—especially to traveling vessels.