According to satellite images taken recently by the European Space Agency (ESA) an iceberg has broken off Pine Island Glacier (PIG) on the edge of Antarctica. As per records, the iceberg was almost as big as Atlanta at more than 300 square kilometers (116 square miles). The iceberg fragmented as soon as it separated from the glacier.
Interestingly, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission has captured the freshly broken bergs in detail in a cloud-free image. It is clear from these images that glaciers are responding to climate change quickly and dramatically.
Pine Island Glacier, along with its neighbor Thwaites Glacier, effectively act as arteries connecting the West Antarctic ice sheet to the ocean. The region holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by 1.2 meters, or 4 feet, according to NASA.
As a matter of fact, the Pine Island Glacier, along with its neighbor Thwaites Glacier are two major glaciers connecting the West Antarctic ice sheet to the ocean. If both these glaciers melt, the sea levels might rise by 1.2 meters globally.
There is a lot of imbalance in the glacial system, due to the warming temperatures. Warmer ocean water and declining snowfall are not allowing the glacier to replenish itself.
Icebergs calving from glaciers is a natural process. However, the rate of melting and calving in West Antarctica is greater than is being observed in the satellite record.
Image Credits – The Washington Post
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