Iceberg The Size Of Atlanta Broke Off A Glacier In Antartica

The Pine Island Glacier recently spawned an iceberg over 300 sq km that very quickly shattered into pieces. This almost cloud-free image captured on 11 February by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission shows the freshly broken bergs in detail

A story about a glacier shedding mass at the edge of the world, threatening to raise ocean levels and potentially contribute to untold environmental change.

An animation published by ESA used 57 radar images captured between February 2019 and February 2020 (the last one on February 10) and shows how fast the emerging cracks grew and led to this event.

The spawning of the huge iceberg in Antarctica from Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, was anticipated.

While icebergs calving from glaciers is a natural process, Drinkwater made it clear that the rate of melting and calving being seen in West Antarctica is greater than anything observed in the satellite record. Bob Bindschadler, an emeritus NASA glaciologist who landed on Pine Island Glacier's ice shelf in 2008, explains the idiosyncracies scientists have discovered about PIG.

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Thanks to the combination of both optical and radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions, growing cracks were spotted in the Pine Island Glacier past year, and since then, scientists have been keeping a close eye on how quick the cracks were growing. He added that there is an "imbalance" in the glacial system since warming temperatures heats up ocean water and declines snowfall which prevents the glacier to replenish itself. Due to the size of the largest fragment, it was even labelled as "B-49". These two glaciers have been losing ice over the last 25 years. The ice stream is now moving at about 10 meters (33 feet) per day, which might not seem like much until you know that the average thickness of the glacier front is about 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The changes to the glacier have been mapped by ESA-built satellites since the 1990s, with calving events occurring multiple times since 1992.

While the world is dealing with climate change issues Antarctica has recorded almost 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a new temperature record on the continent. Driver was a sharp temperature increase on the mainland to plus of 18.3 degrees. If both these glaciers melt, the sea levels might rise by 1.2 meters globally.

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