Larsen C breaks

Larsen C breaks

Released

12/07/2017 1:01 pm

Copyright

contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Description

Witnessed by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission on 12 July 2017, a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg has broken off the Larsen-C ice shelf, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever. The iceberg weighs more than a million million tonnes and contains almost as much water as Lake Ontario in North America. Since the ice shelf is already floating, this giant iceberg will not affect sea level. However, because ice shelves are connected to the glaciers and ice streams on the mainland and so play an important role in ‘buttressing’ the ice as it creeps seaward, effectively slowing the flow. If large portions of an ice shelf are removed by calving, the inflow of glaciers can speed up and contribute to sea-level rise. About 10% of the Larsen C shelf has now gone.

Read full story: Sentinel satellite captures birth of behemoth iceberg

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