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New giant iceberg adrift near Antarctica

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new iceberg -- one roughly twice the size of the state of Rhode Island -- is adrift in the icy waters off Antarctica, the National Ice Center says.

The iceberg -- designated B-22 --broke off from the Thwaites Ice Tongue, a peninsula of ice and snow extending from the mainland of Antarctica into the Amundsen Sea, in the region of Antarctica closest to the mid-Pacific Ocean.

The new iceberg is about 53 miles long and about 40 miles wide. It is currently located at 74.56 south latitude and 107.55 west longitude.

It is designated B-22 because it is the 22nd iceberg researchers are tracking in the Amundsen/Eastern Ross Sea (designated Quadrant "B" by the National Ice Center).

The National Ice Center does ice analysis for the military and the private sector. It is operated by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Researchers have noticed an unusually high number of icebergs calved from Antarctica in recent years, prompting some observers to speculate on a possible connection to global warming.

However, seemingly contradictory announcements have appeared to support claims of both warming and cooling trends in the region.

Only long-term, worldwide studies can confirm global warming, its causes and likely effects, scientists say.

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