Lapse Footage Shows Massive Iceberg Break From Pine Island Glacier

ESA           Pine Island Glacier

Satellite data has shown that the glacier's flow out towards the sea is speeding up to a rate of more than 10 metres a day, it is thinning out and is retreating inland.

The Pine Island Glacier, together with its neighboring Thwaites Glacier, connects the center of the western Antarctic ice sheet with the ocean, discharging significant amounts of ice to the sea. But since 2013, the glacier has calved five times, according to Stef Lhermitte, a remote sensing scientist from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. A 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) iceberg broke off Pine Island Glacier (PIG), Antarctica's biggest glacier and also the fastest melting one of the continent. The video combines 57 radar images captured by the ESA Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission over the a year ago, from February 2019 to February 10, 2020.

"This indicates that Pine Island ice shelf is weakening as a result of warm ocean water and this is important as the ice in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, where PIG is located, is the area where we scientists are most anxious about contributions to sea-level rise", Dr Lhermitte said.

"As anticipated, Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, in Antarctica has just spawned a huge iceberg", the European Space Agency said.

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In October 2019, Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites were used to identify two large rifts in the PIG that had drastically increased in length within a matter of months.

Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-shrinking glaciers in Antarctica, has just lost another huge chunk of ice to the sea, continuing a troubling trend that has become a near-annual occurrence in the last decade. Because ice at the edge of the glacier was already floating, this ice will not directly contribute to sea level rise when it inevitably melts.

While the world is dealing with climate change issues Antarctica has recorded almost 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a new temperature record on the continent.

He said he hopes the images would continue to be an "eye in the sky" to monitor glacial change and improve public knowledge.

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