WATCH: Iceberg 6 times the size of Manhattan on the move in Antarctic
TORONTO – NASA has released video of a giant iceberg drifting in the Antarctic since November 2013.
The ice island, named B31, broke off the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica in early November. Since then, it crossed Pine Island Bay, a basin in the Amundsen Sea and is slowly making its way toward the Southern Ocean.
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Though the breaking up of ice — called calving — is a normal process, scientists are still trying to determine the effects of B31.
“Iceberg calving is a very normal process,” said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “However, the detachment rift, or crack, that created this iceberg was well upstream of the 30-year average calving front of Pine Island Glacier (PIG), so this a region that warrants monitoring.”
For the past 20 years, scientists have been monitoring the Pine Island Glacier, as it has been rapidly thinning and draining and could be one of the largest contributors to sea level rise. As well, any calving that takes place is important to the shipping industry as icebergs will make their way into the Southern Ocean.
Since the calving, B31 has been well-tracked. Scientists believe that it is about 500 metres thick. It has lost very little mass since December.
As the southern hemisphere heads into winter, it will be harder to track B31, as the south pole will remain in relative darkness.
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