Tag Archives: Antarctica

'Gigantic' iceberg breaks away from ice shelf in Antarctica

'Gigantic' iceberg breaks away from ice shelf in AntarcticaA colossal iceberg roughly the size of Los Angeles or Sydney, Australia, and weighing an estimated 347 billion tons broke off from the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica last week.The 630-square-mile iceberg, named D28, separated from the ice shelf on September 26, next to a location scientists had been watching for nearly 20 years. The area was known as the "Loose Tooth," because it appeared to be barely hanging on to the ice shelf in recent years."We first noticed a rift at the front of the ice shelf in the early 2000s and predicted a large iceberg would break off between 2010-2015," said Helen Amanda Fricker, one of the lead researchers on the team studying D28, said in a statement from the Australian government's Antarctic division.The Antarctic division also released stunning aerial footage showing the "gigantic" hunk of ice that until last week had been hanging on by a thread. Below is a video animation made from satellite imagery showing the moment the break-away iceberg split from the Amery Ice Shelf.> A 1600 km² iceberg broke off Amery Ice Shelf, as seen in @CopernicusEU Sentinel-1 radar images. This part, coined the "Loose Tooth" by @helenafricker and colleagues, has been hanging by a thread since 2002 (t.co/IUhXDCWOFF) and finally gave way last week.@sentinel_hub pic.twitter.com/GG60Sk52GB> > — Bert Wouters (@bert_polar) September 30, 2019The GIF shows the iceberg rotating westward, apparently pushed by the prevailing easterly winds, which reached speeds of 40 mph, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Andrews."The calving will not directly affect sea level, because the ice shelf was already floating, much like an ice cube in a glass of water," Dr. Galton-Fenzi said in the statement released by the Australian Arctic division.However, Fenzi said scientists are interested to see if the loss of ice will influence the ocean melting under the remaining ice shelf and the speed at which the ice flows off the continent.Amery is the third-largest ice shelf in Antarctica, and is a key drainage channel for the east of the continent — a closely-watched piece of real estate that researchers have been studying since the 1960s.Currently, there are instruments deployed on the ice measuring the impact of ocean melt and ice flow. "We don't think this event is linked to climate change, it's part of the ice shelf's normal cycle, where we see major calving events every 60 to 70 years," Fricker said.If the calving isn't linked to climate change, then what should people make of it? "I like to think of it as being akin to our fingernails — they grow and break off — at least if we don't keep them clipped," Andrews said.



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Massive iceberg breaks off Antarctica — but it's normal

Massive iceberg breaks off Antarctica -- but it's normalA more than 600-square-mile iceberg broke off Antarctica in recent days, but the event is part of a normal cycle and is not related to climate change, scientists say. The iceberg, dubbed D28, broke away from the Amery ice shelf between September 24 and 25, according to observations from European and American satellites. It measures 1,582 square kilometers (610 square miles), according to the European Copernicus program.



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US weather forecast: Northern states to be colder than Antarctica as temperatures drop to -40C

US weather forecast: Northern states to be colder than Antarctica as temperatures drop to -40CParts of America are enduring temperatures colder than Antarctica this week as a blast of Arctic air from the polar vortex has caused the mercury to plunge as low as -40C (-40F). US officials are urging residents from northern states to stay inside as the deep freeze sets in across the country, bringing with it life-threatening conditions that have forced rail workers in Chicago to start track fires to keep them warm enough to function, and led to warnings not to breathe too deeply when outside. Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s weather prediction centre in Maryland, said: “The heart of this cold … is hitting us now.



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Colder than Antarctica: brutal deep freeze grips US Midwest

Colder than Antarctica: brutal deep freeze grips US MidwestA life-threatening deep freeze gripped the American Midwest on Wednesday as weather colder than Antarctica grounded flights, disrupted travel and brought life to a standstill for tens of millions. Mail deliveries were suspended, schools and business closed, and residents encouraged to stay home in nearly a dozen states where temperatures overnight sank into the negative double digits, the worst cold to grip the region in a generation with all-time records still under threat. America’s third city Chicago — where the morning temperature was -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius), which felt like -50 degrees (-46 Celsius) with wind chill — was colder than Alaska’s state capital and even colder than parts of Antarctica.



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Colder than Antarctica: brutal deep freeze grips US Midwest

Colder than Antarctica: brutal deep freeze grips US MidwestA life-threatening deep freeze gripped the American Midwest on Wednesday as weather colder than Antarctica grounded flights, disrupted travel and brought life to a standstill for tens of millions. Mail deliveries were suspended, schools and business closed, and residents encouraged to stay home in nearly a dozen states where temperatures overnight sank into the negative double digits, the worst cold to grip the region in a generation with all-time records still under threat. America’s third city Chicago — where the morning temperature was -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius), which felt like -50 degrees (-46 Celsius) with wind chill — was colder than Alaska’s state capital and even colder than parts of Antarctica.



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Chicago will be colder than Antarctica this week; 250 million in U.S. will see freezing temperatures

Chicago will be colder than Antarctica this week; 250 million in U.S. will see freezing temperaturesWinter threatened to paralyze much of the nation as temperature records began falling and parts of New York State braced for up to 4 feet of snow.



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2nd man nears end of historic solo trek across Antarctica

2nd man nears end of historic solo trek across AntarcticaA British adventurer was close to becoming the second person to traverse Antarctica completely unassisted just a few days after an American became the first to conquer the feat, which was previously said to be impossible.



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American adventurer completes solo trek across Antarctica

American adventurer completes solo trek across AntarcticaAn American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind. Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) crossing of the frozen continent from coast to coast. In an Instagram post, he explained his journey ended upon crossing the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf: the point where Antarctica’s land mass ends.



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Antarctica is losing billions of tons of ice each year, sharply boosting sea levels

Antarctica is losing billions of tons of ice each year, sharply boosting sea levelsEarth-orbiting satellites are watching Antarctica thaw.  Eighty scientists from over 40 earth sciences agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency, used satellite data from between 1992 to 2017 to find that Antarctica has lost three trillion tons of ice to the oceans over this 25-year period. Their research, published Wednesday in the journal
Nature, confirms a troubling trend, as much of the world's fresh water is frozen away in Antarctica. It's accelerating melt will likely play a primary role in swelling Earth's oceans two or three feet higher this century, or perhaps as much as six feet. SEE ALSO: Arctic sea ice is loaded with plastic litter from cigarettes and paint The most vulnerable masses of ice are in West Antartica, where NASA has already witnessed an accelerating melt. "They're melting like gangbusters," Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an April interview. "These are massive rivers of ice that are dumping just huge amounts of ice into the oceans." Image: imbie/Planetary VisionsPerhaps most worrying, said Willis, is that this melting is unprecedented. Scientists are watching this thawing for the first time. They can see the melt is already accelerating — and it's unknown what's exactly to come. "We have long suspected that changes in Earth’s climate will affect the polar ice sheets," Andrew Shepherd, a climate scientist and one of the study's lead authors, said in a statement.   "Thanks to the satellites our space agencies have launched, we can now track their ice losses and global sea level contribution with confidence," said Shepherd. "According to our analysis, there has been a steep increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the past decade, and the continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years."  Over this 25-year period, scientists measured around 7 and a half millimeters of sea level rise from the ice-clad continent. This might not seem like a lot, Robin Bell, a marine geologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said over email. But, the more recent rapid loses in Antarctic ice "indicates Antarctica can change faster than we thought," said Bell. In fact, 40 percent of the total rise, or about 3 millimeters, came in the last 5 years. That's when things really started to change. Until 2012, the study's researchers found that Antarctica had been shedding 84 billion tons of ice into the sea each year, incrementally boosting sea levels by around 0.2 millimeters annually.  But beginning in 2012, Antarctica began to lose nearly 240 billion tons per year, largely from two giant West Antarctic glaciers, Pine Island and Thwaites.   The West Antarctic ice is particularly vulnerable because these massive ice sheets sit over the ocean, and even slightly warmer ocean waters can eat away at them from the bottom.  The locations of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which alone have enough ice to raise sea levels by 4 feet, says NASA.Image: Nasa"The largest mass loss is observed where relatively warm ocean waters are melting floating ice shelves from below," Steve Rintoul, a study coauthor and physical oceanographer from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center, in Australia, said in a statement.  These masses of ice, which sit on the edge of the continent, act as a plug, holding the continent's thick sheets of heavy ice back.  "As the ice shelves thin and weaken, they provide less resistance to ice flow from the continent to the sea," explained Rintoul. "This increases the rate of mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet and therefore the rate of sea level rise." This leads to a foreboding future. Once these melting ice sheets on the coast go, nothing is left to hold West Antartica's ice back. And as the authors note, "The ice sheets of Antarctica hold enough water to raise global sea level by 58 meters." Certainly, no one is suggesting this will all dump into ocean — not nearly. But only an insignificant amount needs to melt into the sea for coastal dwellers, where billions reside and many more are expected to live, to be impacted by rising seas, flooding, and surges of stormwater. Around 40 percent of Americans, for example, live directly on the shoreline.  To better grasp exactly how much ice is lost each year — and more critically, how fast these losses are accelerating — space agencies will continue to peer onto the thawing continent. And down on Earth, scientists will even depend on seals, fitted with data-collecting devices, to dive under this melting ice.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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Scientists Found More Than a Million Rare Penguins in Antarctica

Scientists Found More Than a Million Rare Penguins in AntarcticaExperts found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil



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