Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Shrinking Antarctic ice shelf Pine Island Glacier sheds giant iceberg

Shrinking Antarctic ice shelf Pine Island Glacier sheds giant iceberg, ABC News, Digital Story Innovation Team  By Mark Doman 14 Feb 20,  In one of the fastest-changing areas of the Antarctic ice sheet, satellites have captured the formation of a giant, 300-square-kilometre iceberg.

Researchers monitoring satellite imagery of the Pine Island Glacier (PIG), in west Antarctica, first noticed two large rifts forming in the shelf in 2019.

Over the next few months, as the glacier moved out towards the Amundsen Sea, the rifts expanded, eventually leading to the splitting of the iceberg from the glacier on February 9.

Within a day, the iceberg had broken up into smaller pieces.

Only one of the pieces was large enough to be named (B-49) and tracked by the United States National Ice Centre.

It comes just days after a station on the Antarctic Peninsula logged its hottest day on record, registering a temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius.

The peninsula, which juts out to the north-east of the Pine Island Glacier, is among the fastest-warming regions on the planet. Temperatures there have increased almost 3C over the last 50 years, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

Last month, scientists also recorded unusually warm water beneath the Thwaites Glacier, a neighbour to Pine Island.

While the calving of icebergs from shelves such as the Pine Island Glacier is a natural process in the life of a giant glacier, the rate at which this glacier and others in the region have been disintegrating is a cause of concern for scientists.

Previously the ice shelf calved once a decade. By the early 2000s, it started calving once every five years. But since 2013, the glacier has calved five times, according to Stef Lhermitte, a remote sensing scientist from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-13/antarctic-ice-shelf-pine-island-glacier-sheds-giant-iceberg/11957770

February 15, 2020 - Posted by | politics

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