One of the biggest icebergs break away from Antarctica

Jul 13, 2017 14:15 IST

One   of the biggest icebergs breaks away from Antarctica=Scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey on 12 July 2017 said that one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has broken away from Antarctica. As per estimates, the giant block covers, which covers an area of roughly 6000 square kilometres (about a quarter the size of Wales), has calved away from the

Larsen C Ice Shelf of Antarctica between 10 July and 12 July 2017.

As per reports, US satellite observed the iceberg while passing over a region as the Larsen C Ice Shelf. Scientists were expecting it and thus they have been following the development of a large crack in Larsen’s ice for more than a decade.

One of the largest icebergs ever is about to break off Antarctica

The rift's propagation had accelerated since 2014, making an imminent calving ever more likely. The more than 200m-thick tabular berg will not move very far, very fast in the short term. But it will need to be monitored. Currents and winds might eventually push it north of the Antarctic where it could become a hazard to shipping.

An infrared sensor on the American space agency's Aqua satellite spied clear water in the rift between the shelf and the Berg on 12 July 2017. The water is warmer relative to the surrounding ice and air - both of which are sub-zero.

The European Sentinel-1 satellite-radar system should also have acquired imagery in recent hours to confirm the break. Sentinel can sense any changes in the giant block's motion relative to the shelf.

Reports suggest that the iceberg, likely to be named A68, will have no immediate impact on the sea levels as it was floating before it broke away from Larsen C. After its caving away, the size if remaining Larsen C ice shelf has reduced in area by more than 12 percent.

The Larsen A and B ice shelves, which were situated further north on the Antarctic Peninsula, collapsed in 1995 and 2002, respectively. After collapsing, the two shelves resulted in the dramatic acceleration of the glaciers behind them, which after entering the ocean contributed to sea-level rise. In the same way, the level of the sea will rise again, if Larsen C starts retreating and collapses in near future, maybe a decade or two.

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