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posted by martyb on Sunday July 09 2017, @11:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the should-start-a-lottery-on-when-it-finally-calves dept.

As the Larsen C ice shelf moves closer to calving one of the largest icebergs on record, there are clear signs of changes in the part of the shelf which is about to calve. In late June 2017, the soon-to-be iceberg tripled in speed, producing the fastest flow speeds ever recorded on Larsen C, and seemed to be on the verge of breaking free.

The latest data from 6th July reveal that, in a release of built-up stresses, the rift branched several times. Using data from ESA’s Sentinel-1 satellites, we can see that there are multiple rift tips now within 5 km of the ice edge. We expect that these rifts will lead to the formation of several smaller icebergs, as well as the large iceberg which we estimate will have an area of 5,800 sq km. Despite this, the iceberg remains attached to the shelf by a thin band of ice. It is remarkable how the moment of calving is still keeping us waiting.

http://www.projectmidas.org/blog/multiple-branches/

There is a nice animation showing the rift growth since just last year: http://www.projectmidas.org/assets/rift_insar_animation_july.gif


Original Submission

Related Stories

Five Things to Know About the Iceberg 25 comments

It's finally adrift. When the Larsen C Ice Shelf calved yesterday [Wednesday], it sent one of the largest icebergs ever recorded slipping into a sea frosted with smaller chunks of ice. It marked the end of a decades-long splintering first seen by satellites in the 1960s. The crack stayed small for years until, in 2014, it began racing across the Antarctic ice.

The massive iceberg holds twice as much water used in the United States every year, according to calculations by Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. It weighs about 1.1 trillion tons and measures 2,200 square miles. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie.

"The iceberg is one of the largest recorded, and its future progress is difficult to predict," said Adrian Luckman of Wales' Swansea University, who led a project tracking the crack since 2015. "It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters."

By mass, the iceberg accounts for 12 percent of the Larsen C Ice Shelf. It's large enough that maps will have to be redrawn. Larsen C was the fourth-largest ice shelf in the world. Now it's the fifth.

In this particular political moment, the calving of a major iceberg has made headlines around the world. Environmental groups connected the event to climate change and the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. But scientists have cautioned that the story of the iceberg, which will be known as A68, is more nuanced. Climate signals are not clear enough to attribute the event to rising levels of carbon dioxide, but human activity may have contributed to its calving nonetheless.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060057298

Previously:
Larsen C Calves Trillion Ton Iceberg
Larsen C Rift Branches as it Comes Within 5 km of Calving
Delaware-Sized Iceberg Could Break Off of Antarctica at Any Moment


Original Submission

Gap Exposed by Iceberg Breaking Off the Larsen Ice Shelf to be Studied 2 comments

The ecosystem in between the Larsen Ice Shelf and a giant iceberg is due to be studied:

Scientists will set out in the next week to study an Antarctic realm that has been hidden for thousands of years.

A British Antarctic Survey-led team will explore the seabed ecosystem exposed when a giant iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017.

The organisation has also released the first video of the berg, which covers almost 6,000 sq km.

[...] British Antarctic Survey marine biologist Dr Katrin Linse, who is leading the mission, said that the calving of the iceberg, which has been named A68, provides researchers with "a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change". "It's important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonise," she explained, adding that the mission was "very exciting".

Also at Live Science.

Related: Antarctic Larsen C Ice Shelf to Calve; Halley VI Research Station Plans Move
Larsen C Rift Branches as it Comes Within 5 km of Calving
Larsen C Calves Trillion Ton Iceberg
That Huge Iceberg Should Freak You Out. Here's Why


Original Submission

Larsen C Calves Trillion Ton Iceberg 51 comments

A one trillion tonne iceberg – one of the biggest ever recorded - has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The calving occurred sometime between Monday 10th July and Wednesday 12th July 2017, when a 5,800 square km section of Larsen C finally broke away. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, weighs more than a trillion tonnes. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes.

http://www.projectmidas.org/blog/calving/

Also at BBC, PBS, The Guardian, and The Verge.

Complete Calving Coverage:

Antarctic Larsen C Ice Shelf to Calve; Halley VI Research Station Plans Move
Antarctic Ice Rift Close to Calving, After Growing 17km in 6 Days
Delaware-Sized Iceberg Could Break Off of Antarctica at Any Moment
Larsen C Rift Branches as it Comes Within 5 km of Calving


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @11:59AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @11:59AM (#536800)

    that someone gets paid to write about how they are waiting for an iceberg to break off.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @12:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @12:10PM (#536803)

      Not just any iceberg, but one the size of small US state.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @02:11PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @02:11PM (#536825)

    Although events like this are probably unrelated to climate change, they can still serve as important reminders that climate change is happening.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday July 09 2017, @06:05PM

      by HiThere (866) on Sunday July 09 2017, @06:05PM (#536869)

      I don't think it's fair to say that they are unrelated to climate change. It *is* fair to say that no direct link can be established to any particular event. But temperature of the ice affects the speed with which the glacier (on land) moves, and so does any subsurface melt...which is affected by the general temperature of the air which is affected by global warming. (Actually by any climate change, but the Arctic and Antarctic regions are warming during the current change.)

      --
      Put not your faith in princes.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @02:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @02:26PM (#536832)

    That seems like a lot of mass moving about on the Earth's surface.

    I wonder if there is any way to measure a wobble in the Earth's rotation as a result of this movement?

  • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:32PM (2 children)

    by inertnet (4071) on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:32PM (#536861)

    Is there a tsunami risk involved?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by bradley13 on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:43PM (1 child)

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:43PM (#536865) Homepage Journal

      No, no tsunami risk. No change in sea level. This is sea ice, meaning that it is floating on the ocean, so there will be no change in water displacement when it moves.

      While spectacularly large, thus is basically a normal event for an ice shelf. It will be interesting to see if / how fast /in which direction it drifts.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday July 10 2017, @01:18PM

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday July 10 2017, @01:18PM (#537102) Homepage
        Most historical ones just bobble about and go nowhere. One of the sites I can across had an interesting plot of their paths, which nasically made the antarctic look like it had natty dread.
        --
        The "free" in #freearistarchus is the "free" in "free jazz"
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