Antarctica, the new iceberg seen through the eyes of European satellites – Terra & Poli
New images of the iceberg that broke away from the Brent Ice Shelf in Antarctica on January 22 come from the eyes of Europe’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites. Observation From Earth managed by the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA): The images taken show the extent of the new iceberg, 1,550 square kilometers in area, five times the size of the island of Malta, and about 150 meters thick. The massive glacier broke free after the fracture known as Chasm-1 spun all the way north: the fracture had been under control since early 2012, when it began showing signs of activity after lying dormant for decades, and it was only a matter of time before the Halloween (so-named) meet. Because it was first seen on Halloween of 2016).
The new iceberg will likely be called A-81, while the smaller piece to the north will be designated A-81A or A-82. “After several years of observations, the long-awaited separation of iceberg A81 has occurred,” comments Mark Drinkwater of the European Space Agency (ESA): “This was perhaps the most detailed and longest-duration observation ever of the birth of an iceberg from the Antarctic ice shelf.” … The combination of images taken by Sentinel-2 during the summer – adds Drinkwater – with those taken by the Sentinel-1 radar in winter and for the rest of the year made it possible to follow the whole process in detail.
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The birth of the iceberg can now influence the behavior of the remaining Brent ice shelf and other existing cracks, accelerating the flow of ice towards the sea: “We will continue to use the capabilities of the Copernicus satellites – concludes Mark Drinkwater – to closely monitor the behavior and stability of the platform.”
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