Update on the Larsen-C iceberg breakaway

phys.org | 8/2/2017 | Staff
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The largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula lost 10% of its area when an iceberg four times the size of London broke free earlier this month.

Since the 12 July 2017 breakaway Dr Anna Hogg, from the University of Leeds and Dr Hilmar Gudmundsson, from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), have continued to track the iceberg - known as A68 - using the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Commission's Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite.

Observations - Calving - Event - Berg - Larsen-C

Their observations show that since the calving event, the berg has started to drift away from the Larsen-C, with open ocean clearly visible in the ~ 5 kilometre gap between the berg and the ice-shelf.

A cluster of over 11 'smaller' icebergs have also now formed, the largest of which is over 13 km long. These 'bergy bits' have broken off both the giant iceberg and the remaining ice-shelf.

Dr - Hogg - ESA - Research - Fellow

Dr Hogg, an ESA Research Fellow in the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at Leeds said: "The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen-C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf.

"If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilisation. It looks like the Larsen-C story might not be over yet."

Week - Nature - Climate - Change - Dr

Reporting this week in the journal Nature Climate Change Dr Hogg and Dr Gudmundsson, examine the events leading up to this dramatic natural phenomenon...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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