The Earth's slowly rising temperature may be to blame for the recent increase in icebergs breaking off from Antarctica, government ice specialists say.

They can't be sure yet, but officials of the Navy-NOAA Joint Ice Center note that as the global temperature has increased, so have the size and number of icebergs."An abnormally high amount of ice shelf calving is occurring in Antarctica," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist Glenn Rutledge said Thursday.

Increases in the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere over the last century or so have been associated with rising temperatures around the world.

Some scientists believe that the temperature increase, amounting to one or two degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, could lead to major climate changes including melting the ice in the polar regions.

This could cause a rise in the ocean level around the world and cause major changes in weather patterns.