Gigantic iceberg now floating free
For the last few months a large crack has been cutting across a vast chunk of ice in Antarctica. ESA’s Sentinel-1 satellites have now seen the ice completely break away, making one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded.
Unfortunately Antarctica is heading into its dark winter months, when light levels are low and bad weather is common, making it difficult to observe even using satellites. To overcome this problem, scientists from Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research group led by Swansea University in the UK, used the Sentinel satellites’ radar imaging equipment to peer through the darkness and clouds.
This new gigantic iceberg is about 6000 sq km, and weighs more than a million million tonnes! It is difficult to predict what will happen to it next. It may stay floating in the area for many years. Or it may split apart into smaller icebergs that could drift north into warmer waters that would melt the ice.
The good news is that thanks to ESA satellites we can keep up-to-date with how our planet is changing, especially in places that are very difficult to reach, like Antarctica. The more information we have, the better we can protect our planet and the life on it!
Cool fact: The iceberg contains about the same amount of water as Lake Ontario in North America!