Giant sheet of ice breaks off into the ocean

A roughly 2,000-square-mile block of ice just broke off in the Arctic Ocean, reports Business Insider.

The chunk, which sits in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, took just two days to separate from the surrounding ice, and NASA captured the images.

Here's the ice just five days ago, on March 12. You can see that it is just starting to crack and break up:

Photo: NASA Worldview

And here it is, on March 14:

Photo: NASA Worldview

Did you miss that?

Here's a side-by-side comparison, with March 12 on the left and March 14 on the right, with the ice chunk circled:

Photo: NASA Worldview

It's about the size of the state of Rhode Island in The United States and slightly smaller than Delaware.

Below is an illustration to put that into perspective. A roughly to-scale outline of Rhode Island is on the right:

Photo: NASA Worldview

While epic, the event is not that shocking.

Earth is now emerging from its warmest winter on record. The Northern Hemisphere in particular also just slipped past an alarming 2-degree-Celsius average temperature for the first time in history.

Polar regions like the Arctic are our canaries in the global-warming coal mine. We're already facing worldwide sea-level rise and extreme-weather events that are now officially linked to climate change.

If this isn't a wake-up call, we don't know what is.