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Nature & Environment

Huge Antarctic iceberg heads for open ocean

By T.K. Randall
April 25, 2014 · Comment icon 9 comments



An aerial view of the glacier. Image Credit: NASA
A chunk of ice six times the size of Manhatten broke away from the Pine Island Glacier last year.
The huge 500m thick iceberg, which measures 33km long and 20km wide, is now heading towards the open sea where it could soon pose a risk to ships.

Its separation from the glacier is yet another indicator that global temperatures are still on the increase. Scientists estimate that the Pine Island Glacier alone, when melted, could cause sea levels to rise by 1.5m.
NASA is now monitoring the iceberg to keep track of its size and location.

"It's floating off into the sea and will get caught up in the current and flow around the Antarctica continent where there are ships," said research scientist Dr Bethan Davies.

It is believed that it could take at least a year for the iceberg to melt away completely.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by rashore 9 years ago
Here's an interesting video of B-31 breaking and drifting off:
Comment icon #2 Posted by libstaK 9 years ago
Oki doki - um Southerner here - Melbournite, would very much like to know exactly where the scientists imagine this ice-berg might be heading .....
Comment icon #3 Posted by freetoroam 9 years ago
There is increasing evidence that glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula are shrinking and receding. Alison Cook found that 87% of the glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula are receding27,28. Other workers have found evidence ofglacier recession and a measureable sea-level contribution29. There is evidence of widespread glacier recession around the northern Antarctic Peninsula21,30. Land-terminating glaciers in this region are shrinking particularly rapidly31, which is significant, as their mass balance is more directly controlled by temperature and precipitation, compared with marine-termi... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
It's kind of scary having that float around until it melts. At the current rate of population growth we're going to need the land under the cap at Antartica to live. The current coasts will be gone, replaced by new further inland ones. Some islands that are currently inhabited may be completely under water. Who knows there may be lots of oil and other essential items we humans need. May even find a buried space craft or two. I still think the human race is someone science project. Instead of an Ant Farm we have a People Farm.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
I'd be interested to see how far this can get if it takes a year to melt. Shipping lanes are one thig, but the real danger large icebergs have is to offshore oil rigs. One that big would be difficult (impossible?) to wrangle onto a new course.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
This is one big Ice-Cube. A shame it can't be used for something positive instead of just melting away into nothing. Seems like a(n) iceberg of that magnitude could really help drought stricken areas. (I know it would cost a shitload to pull it off)
Comment icon #7 Posted by MysticStrummer 9 years ago
This is one big Ice-Cube. A shame it can't be used for something positive instead of just melting away into nothing. Seems like a(n) iceberg of that magnitude could really help drought stricken areas. (I know it would cost a shitload to pull it off) That could be easily afforded If we diverted some cash away from our relentless pursuit of new and better ways to blow stuff up.
Comment icon #8 Posted by FizzPuff 9 years ago
Can I now say:I was frozen today?
Comment icon #9 Posted by larryn1 9 years ago
An iceberg floating in the ocean will not cause any rise in sea level because the total weight has already been imposed on the ocean level. The density of ice is less than water which is why ice floats. the total weight of ice is the same when melted as an equivalent weight of water.. To illustrate this just fill a glass with ice cubes and water then let them melt the level of the water in the glass will not change The only time that ice will change the sea level is when the ice comes off of solid ground as in the ice cap of Greenland.


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