Technology New giant iceberg lands in West Antarctica

New giant iceberg lands in West Antarctica

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Impressive images of fractures of the Pine Island glacier have been captured by the European Space Agency.

Iceberg fractures in the Pine Island Glacier, February 11, taken by the Sentinel-2 mission.
Iceberg fractures in the Pine Island Glacier, February 11, taken by the Sentinel-2 mission. ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

There is no need for new evidence to indicate that temperatures are at record highs in Antarctica. The Pine Island Glacier, west of the White Continent, adjacent to the Thwaites Glacier, continues to lose new icebergs at a frequency that appears to be accelerating. One of them measures more than 300 km2, almost 3 times the area of ​​Paris, according to images taken by the Sentinel-2 mission of the European Space Agency.

This is a major calving event (iceberg stall, Editor’s note), which is part of a long period of decay of the Pine Island ice system. This is bad news from the glacier “, says Éric Rignot, senior radar measurement scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and researcher at the University of California, Irvine (United States). “Since 1990, the glacier has lost about 1,000 billion tonnes of ice, which corresponds to a sea level rise of 3 millimeters. This rise does not come from the breaking of the ice into icebergs, since it is already floating, and therefore has no impact on the rise in sea levels when it breaks. “

A marked retreat of glaciers

Several scientific publications have shown that the melting of glaciers in western Antarctica near the Amundsen Sea seems inevitable. And nothing seems to be able to stop it.

“Calvings follow one another at an increasingly rapid frequency showing the weakening of the floating part of these glaciers. There is indeed a marked retreat from these glaciers. Ultimately, this could lead to a further significant acceleration of the flow of ice into the ocean, as we have already seen in previous years. ”, specifies, in addition, Jérémie Mouginot, researcher at the Institute of environmental geosciences, at the Grenoble-Alpes University.

A video from the European Space Agency (ESA) compiles dozens of images taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

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