Photo

The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica in February. A vast iceberg has broken off from the ice shelf, scientists said on Wednesday.

Credit
British Antarctic Survey, via Associated Press.

An iceberg almost identical in size to Brunei broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula on Wednesday.

You know what that looks like, right? Would it help if we said it was about twice the size of Samoa? Half as big as Gambia? One-tenth of Latvia? One-hundredth of Botswana?

News organizations covering the major scientific development — it’s one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and fundamentally changes the Antarctic landscape — had to hope their audiences knew geography well enough to understand the scope of the news.

Several American outlets, including The New York Times, compared the iceberg, at 2,240 square miles, to Delaware, which has 1,954 square miles.

The Huffington Post also compared it to Delaware, but threw in an extra comparison: the Indonesian island of Bali.

The London Evening Standard said the iceberg was four times the size of London, or “around 15 times the size of the Isle of Wight, twice the size of Luxembourg and a quarter the size of Wales.”

CNN wrote that it was “half the size of Qatar” before adding that it was “the size of four Londons or more than seven New York Citys.”

The Associated Press went with the same description offered by the researchers: a volume about twice that of Lake Erie.

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