Antarctica is About to Unleash an Iceberg Twice the Size of New York City

McT

The Humble Scot!
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
35,140
#1
An ice shelf in Antarctica is about to give birth to a baby. This baby is a giant, spawned by growing cracks in the Brunt Ice Shelf. It’s not clear what this’ll mean to the scientific infrastructure in the area, and to the human presence, which were both established in the 1950s.

The Brunt Ice Shelf is located in the Coats Land area on the coast of the Waddell Sea in Antarctica. There are massive cracks in the ice there, which are about to create an iceberg over twice the size of New York City. One of the cracks is called the Halloween Crack because it first appeared near the end of October 2016.
The Halloween crack and the soon-to-be-calved iceberg are part of a bigger story in Antarctica.

In 1956, the British set up the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf. It was set up there to study Earth’s atmosphere, and in 1985 scientists at Halley discovered the ozone hole. Over the years since it was established, it has been moved several times due to the threat posed by chasms and cracks in the ice.
More @ https://www.universetoday.com/14157...h-an-iceberg-twice-the-size-of-new-york-city/
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
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Aug 7, 2003
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23,604
#5
Since 1915? You can't be serious. Until the 1960s the area barely had two or three fleeting visits a year. The Brits established a base in the mid-50s, but it wasn't well positioned to observe break-offs.

If you'd said late 1960s and sat-obs I wouldn't have laughed so hard.
 

MightyQuin

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
11,993
#7
So even bigger than this event:


Won't be nearly as dramatic of course.

This would be the largest iceberg to ever break off from the Brunt Ice Shelf, at least since we’ve been paying attention, and scientists have been observing it since 1915. Calving isn’t unusual for ice shelfs, but this level of change is unusual for the area.

The iceberg will be about 1700 sq. km., depending on where the cracks meet. By Antarctic standards, that’s not huge. But as stated previously, it would be the largest we’ve seen break off from the Brunt Ice Shelf. Of deeper concern is what it could mean for the stability of the remaining shelf.


The growing instability in the shelf has already meant that Halley Station has had to close down twice in recent years, and be relocated.
 
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Techne

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
10,533
#8
Can someone trawl that baby to Cape Town and conveyor belt some ice into their damns and rivers?
 

Gordon_R

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
6,145
#11
Related story on the British Antarctic Base, which is periodically evacuated due to the risk of the ice shelf collapse: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47408249

The British Antarctic Survey has closed its Halley base for another winter.

Staff departed the station, leaving about 80% of the experiments they'd normally conduct through the polar night operating on automatic.

The closure is the result of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the stability of ice near Halley that is likely soon to break off into the sea.

BAS believes the base is far enough away to be unaffected, but it doesn't want people there just in case.

Sending in planes to evacuate personnel in winter darkness and in bad weather is an unnecessary risk.

This is the third winter on the trot now that Halley has been closed up.
 
Joined
May 20, 2010
Messages
2,271
#13
So even bigger than this event:


Won't be nearly as dramatic of course.

This would be the largest iceberg to ever break off from the Brunt Ice Shelf, at least since we’ve been paying attention, and scientists have been observing it since 1915. Calving isn’t unusual for ice shelfs, but this level of change is unusual for the area.

The iceberg will be about 1700 sq. km., depending on where the cracks meet. By Antarctic standards, that’s not huge. But as stated previously, it would be the largest we’ve seen break off from the Brunt Ice Shelf. Of deeper concern is what it could mean for the stability of the remaining shelf.


The growing instability in the shelf has already meant that Halley Station has had to close down twice in recent years, and be relocated.
Some amazing footage there. First time I've seen it.
 
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