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The largest of these ice islands at 3,000 square kilometers, cataloged by scientists as B-15A, drifted through the Ross Sea over the years and finally ran aground in McMurdo Sound. - The birth of table icebergs, the calving, is not necessarily a consequence of the greenhouse effect. German polar researchers and their colleagues from the British Antarctic Survey agree on this: "Calving in this region is a process that repeats itself from time to time," says Dr. Hans Oerter from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Research in Bremerhaven and refers to a 150 by 35 kilometer table iceberg that broke off the Ronne Ice Shelf in October 1998 in the Antarctic Weddell Sea. There the ice front has only retreated to the level of 1947. Ten degrees of latitude further north, on the Antarctic Peninsula, climate change seems to be in full swing. On its east side, a 70 by 25 kilometer sheet of ice broke off the Larsen Ice Shelf in 1995. Almost at the same time, another 2,000 square kilometers of ice shelf dissolved into countless small icebergs at its northern end. An area almost as large as the Saarland. The Wordie Ice Shelf on the west side of the peninsula fared even more dramatically. After crumbling for decades, it now only covers a quarter of its original area. The regional temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius over the last five decades probably plays a key role in this.