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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday February 13, @05:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the studying-where-the-calf-came-from dept.

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

Related Stories

Antarctic Larsen C Ice Shelf to Calve; Halley VI Research Station Plans Move 11 comments

According to a December 1st article from NASA:

On Nov. 10, 2016, scientists on NASA's IceBridge mission photographed an oblique view of a massive rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf....

The IceBridge scientists measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles [113 km] long, more than 300 feet [91 m] wide and about a third of a mile [a half of a kilometer] deep. The crack completely cuts through the ice shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware.

The British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI research station is currently located on the Larsen C ice shelf. Fortunately, the station was designed to move. A December 7th article from The Guardian gives more information about that station and the upcoming move:

The British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI research station has recorded data relevant to space weather, climate change, and atmospheric phenomena from its site on the Brunt Ice Shelf shelf since 2012....

The new site, nicknamed Halley VI A, was identified during in-depth site surveys in the 2015-16 Antarctic summer. Now that winter has passed, the relocation team are preparing to tow the station 23km [14 miles] to its new home using large tractors.

The Telegraph outlines the timeframe for the move:

In 2012, satellite monitoring of the ice shelf revealed the first signs of movement in the chasm that had lain dormant for at least 35 years and, by 2013, it began opening at an alarming pace of one mile per year. If the base does not move, it could be in danger of tumbling into the chasm by 2020.

To make matters more time critical, in October, a new crack emerged 10 miles [16 km] to the north of the research station across the route sometimes used to resupply the base.

The team has just nine weeks to relocate operations, before the harsh winter begins, making it difficult to move the structure amid complete darkness, plummeting temperatures and gale-force winds.

Additional information about the Halley VI research station is available from the British Antarctic Survey.


Original Submission

Larsen C Rift Branches as it Comes Within 5 km of Calving 8 comments

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

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

That Huge Iceberg Should Freak You Out. Here's Why 68 comments

(CNN)This week, a trillion-ton hunk of ice broke off Antarctica.

You probably know that. It was all over the Internet.

Among the details that have been repeated ad nauseam: The iceberg is nearly the size of Delaware, which prompted some fun musing on Twitter about where exactly Delaware is and how anyone is supposed to approximate the square footage of that US state. The ice, which has been named A68, represents more than 12% of the Larsen C ice shelf, a sliver on the Antarctic Peninsula. And most important: None of this has anything to do with man-made climate change.

The problem: That last detail -- the climate one -- is misleading at best.

At worst, it's wrong.

Some scientists think this has a lot to do with global warming.

I spent most of Thursday on the phone with scientists, talking to them about the huge iceberg off Antarctica and what it means. Here are my five takeaways.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/14/world/sutter-iceberg-antarctica-climate-change/index.html

[Warning: CNN autoplay video - Ed]


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Tuesday February 13, @06:28PM (1 child)

    by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 13, @06:28PM (#637216)

    Right ... "We need to study this quickly" ... Suuuuuuure.

    What i see is that a bunch of nerds are going to fly off South for a relaxing vacation in the midnight sun, while pretending to do "hard work".
    I'm sure that "zooplankton" and "two big bergs on starboard!!" are codenames for ogling females while feigning to watch birds with those big goggles.
    Shameful...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday February 13, @08:01PM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday February 13, @08:01PM (#637246)

      I have helpfully linked a typical beach scene from the Antarctic peninsula here. [wikimedia.org]

      I suppose you could wear a bikini if you really wanted, but according to Accuweather [accuweather.com] it is something like -6 C at the moment.

      I did read a piece on Modern Drunkard a while back about the amount of drinking that goes on during the winter and it sounds like those guys party hard when it's dark.

      Still modded you +1 funny.

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