Once in a while, a colossal chunk of ice breaks free from Antarctica’s majestic landscape and drifts out into the ocean. In March, a Nasa satellite captured a monster iceberg, larger than Manhattan, breaking away from West Antarctica’s Getz Ice Shelf by the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC).
The iceberg, known as B-34 appears to have fractured and moved out into in the Amundsen Sea sometime in mid- to late-February 2015, Nasa said. Measuring 17 miles long, the massive moving island now poses a major and immediate threat to shipping, scientists say.
However scientists believe the real threat will be when the iceberg melts – unloading thousands of millions of gallons of ice-cold fresh water into the saline ocean.
The extra-cold fresh water is known to impact ocean currents, which in turn play havoc with the earth’s weather patterns.The US National Ice Centre is monitoring the speed and direction of the iceberg. B-34 first began breaking away in late February and by March 5 was fully detached.
Glaciers in the Amundsen Sea of west Antarctica are losing ice faster than anywhere else on the continent and are the largest contributors to the rise of sea levels.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (Modis) on Nasa’s Terra and Aqua satellites took images spanning the calving event.
B-34 is the 34th iceberg from the ‘B’ quadrant of Antarctica to be tracked by the NIC. The new berg is still smaller, however, than the much older B-15T- a fragment of B-15 that initially broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000.
Large icebergs can have large-scale impacts on the Southern Ocean. For example, as the bergs melt, the addition of cold, fresh water to the saltwater ocean can affect ocean currents and circulation.
Researchers have shown, however, that even more fresh water comes from the melting of smaller and much more numerous bergs.
WEST ANTARCTIC IS MELTING 3 TIMES AS FAST AS A DECADE AGO
- The Amundsen Sea has long been thought to be the weakest ice sheet in the West Antarctic.
- A study published in December suggests the barren region is haemorrhaging ice at a rate triple that of a decade ago.
- Researchers believe that the melting of glaciers in West Antarctica, which contain enough water to raise sea levels by at least a metre, may be irreversible.
- The findings of the 21-year study by Nasa and the University of California, Irvine claim to provide the most accurate estimates yet of just how fast glaciers are melting in the Amundsen Sea Embayment.
- Scientists found the rate by taking radar, laser and satellite measurements of the glaciers’ mass between 1992 and 2013.
- They found they lost an average 83 gigatons per year (91.5 billion U.S. tons), or the equivalent of losing the water weight of Mount Everest every two years.
Scientists are hoping to combine images such as this with noises recorded from icebergs to detect the different ways that glaciers lose ice into the oceans.
Earlier this year, the incredible sounds of an ice ‘cracking’ and crashing down into water as an iceberg were recorded by researchers
The scientists used underwater microphones aboard buoys to record a variety of iceberg births at the Hans Glacier in Svalbard, Norway during three days in August 2013.
The recordings were then combined with time-lapse photos of the glacier during the same period.
By synchronising the sound recordings with the photographs, the researchers discovered that different types of ice loss are associated with distinct rumbles, snaps and splashes.
They are interested in this because the ice floating around Antarctica has thinned by nearly 20 percent, according to recent research.
This is depleting the bulwark that prevents the permanent collapse of glaciers covering the southern continent.
The study, based on satellite measurements between 1994 and 2012 by the European Space Agency, sheds new light on how Antarctic ice responds to climate change.
Ice barriers have an average thickness of between 400 to 500 meters (1,300 to 1,600 feet) and can extend hundreds of kilometers off the coast of Antarctica.
If the ice becomes too thin it would allow the permanent glaciers to slip into the ocean and start melting, sharply increasing the rise of ocean levels.
Researchers found that the total volume of Antarctic ice changed little between 1994 and 2003, but after that point melting markedly accelerated.
Ice in western Antarctica declined throughout the study period. A slight increase in ice thickness was observed in eastern Antarctica before 2003 when rapid melting began, leading to an 18 percent reduction of thickness compared to 1994.
‘Eighteen percent over the course of 18 years is really a substantial change,’ said Fernando Paolo, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego.
‘Overall, we show not only the total ice shelf volume is decreasing, but we see an acceleration in the last decade.’
If the rate of thinning continues, the ice shelves could lose half of their volume over the next 200 years, the researchers calculated.
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Join us at: He Is Coming -Are You Ready?
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished – Isaiah 51:6 (KJV).
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:- 2 Peter 3:5 (KJV).
”..keep that which is avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:20-21 KJV).
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:-Psalm 102:25-26 (KJV).
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring ” Luke 21:11. 25 (KJV).
Scriptures about Snow and Ice…..
He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes – Psalms 147:16 (KJV)
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word -Psalms 148:8 (KJV).
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater. -Isaiah 55:10 (KJV).
Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place – Job 6:16-17 (KJV).
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;-Job 38:22-28 (KJV).
As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters -Proverbs 25:13 (KJV).