Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Floating freely in Amundsen Sea, iceberg broke off from Pine Island Glacier

Floating freely in the Amundsen Ocean, a huge iceberg, larger than Chicago, broke off of Antarctica's Pine Island this week. German scientists say the newborn iceberg measures about 278 square miles and was seen by TerraSAR-X, an earth-observing satellite operated by the German Space Agency.

Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Iceberg, Antarctica, climate change, Pine Island Glacier, scientists


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The iceberg was first noticed by NASA's Operation Ice Bridge. A giant crack in was discovered in the Pine Island Glacier in October of 2011, as researchers flew over and surveyed the sprawling ice sheet.

The fissure at that time spanned about 15 miles in length and 164 feet in width. Satellite images in May of last year revealed a second rift had formed near the northern side of the first crack.

"As a result of these cracks, one giant iceberg broke away from the glacier tongue," Angelika Humbert, a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute said in a statement.

Humbert along with fellow scientists studied high resolution radar images taken by the TerraSAR-X satellite to track the changes in the two cracks.

"Using the images we have been able to follow how the larger crack on the Pine Island Glacier extended initially to a length of 17 miles," Nina Wilkens, one of the team researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute said in a statement. "Shortly before the 'birth' of the iceberg, the gap then widened bit by bit so that it measured around 1,770 feet at its widest point."

The way the ice breaks, or "calves," is still somewhat mysterious, Humbert notes.

"Glaciers are constantly in motion," she said. "They have their very own flow dynamics. Their ice is exposed to permanent tensions and the calving of icebergs is still largely unresearched."

The longest and fastest-changing on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf is the part of the glacier that extends out into the water. The glacier last produced large icebergs in 2001 and 2007.

While Humbert and her colleagues did not draw direct connections between this week's calving event and climate change, other scientists are investigating whether global warming is thinning Antarctica's ice sheets and speeding up the glacier's retreat.

Humbert says that the flow of the Pine Island Glacier may be driven by other factors. The glacier flows to the Amundsen Sea at a rate of about 2.5 miles per year. Whether the flow speeds up or slows down is based more on changing wind directions in the Amundsen Sea, and less by rising air temperatures.

"The wind now brings warm sea water beneath the shelf ice," Humbert said. "Over time, this process means that the shelf ice melts from below, primarily at the so-called grounding line, the critical transition to the land ice."

If the glacier's flow speeds up, it could have serious consequences, the researchers said. The Pine Island Glacier currently acts as a plug, holding back part of the immense West Antarctic Ice Sheet whose melting ice contributes to rising sea levels.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Green

Global warming right before their eyes, Antarctic scientists share their shock at dramatic changes on icy continent Watch

Image of Moss now grows where glaciers once stood.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Scientists are reporting dramatic changes in Antarctica which they now say they are witnessing firsthand. Entire valleys have lost their ice and vegetation continues to expand. The continent continues to warm and while ice is gaining in East Antarctica, it is not ... continue reading


Climate scientist faces witch hunt after revealing money come from fossil fuel industry Watch

Image of It is important we get the facts of climate change right so we can make science-based decisions, not politically-influenced ones.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Science is a hotly debated topic on Capitol Hill, as though scientific theories were subject to political interpretation; nonetheless this time it's Democrats who are leading a witch hunt of sorts against climate skeptics. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Democrats ... continue reading


NASA warns of 'megadrought' that could cause massive collapse Watch

Image of NASA is warning that the current drought in the Western half of the U.S. will be nothing compared to future droughts that will impact the region.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study from NASA warns that the United States is going to endure a drought. The likes of which may not have been seen in 1,000 years; the kind of drought that contributed heavily to the fall of per-colonial Native American civilizations and may cause immense ... continue reading


Will the United States run dry? Nation at risk for prolonged drought Watch

Image of Extended drought in the central plains could possibly lead to food shortages and famines.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A comparative study has found that the American southwest and central plains could face super-droughts the like of which they have not witnessed in over a 1,000 years. In the study, researchers compared earlier droughts with climate simulations for the coming ... continue reading


Sobering reality: Enough plastic trash in ocean to put five bags on trash on every foot of coastline - worldwide Watch

Image of Volunteers collect garbage along the shore off Manila Bay, during an environmental project marking World Oceans Day in Paranaque, Metro Manila in this June 8, 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Consider this, the next time you discard a plastic water bottle: There is enough plastic debris in the ocean to fill five grocery bags on every foot of every nation's coastline -- around the globe. Those are the sobering statistics are the recent findings of ... continue reading


The 'greatest scientific scandal': Is global warming a scientist-created problem? Watch

Image of Global warming may not be as real as scientists want you to believe, according to weather trending research.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New data research shows much of the global warming trends and temperatures have been tampered with to show a greater increase in warming than actually exists in prime global warming crisis areas, such as in the Arctic. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "When ... continue reading


Pope Francis Calls Christians to Protect the Gift of Creation: Do Not Fear Papal Letter on the Environment Watch

Image of (Pictured: Pope Francis in a reflective moment) The Catholic Church has been green for a lot longer than any modern environmental movement. We are called to what I call a relational environmentalism; one of stewardship with the earth which God has made and entrusted to us to care for and to share. For those eager to understand Catholic teaching on this vital topic, we should always begin with scripture and tradition. - Deacon Keith Fournier

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our obligation to live a proper stewardship of the environment is grounded in our obligation to - and solidarity with - one another. It begins with the understanding that we have been given to one another as gifts. In addition, creation is a gift, entrusted to us ... continue reading


As world warms up, Iceland is RISING; soil pushed up by melting icecaps Watch

Image of There is geological evidence in Iceland that during the past deglaciation roughly 12,000 years ago, volcanic activity in some regions of Iceland increased thirtyfold.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Global climate change has many fearful that nations' coastlines will eventually be washed away to sea. In Iceland, the opposite appears to be true -- The Earth's crust there is rising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A recent study has found that as ice melts ... continue reading


You could be the reason fish are vanishing from the oceans! The shocking reality and consequences of harvesting fish into extinction Watch

Image of Researches estimate, oceans may be virtually emptied by 2050.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; health experts and doctors consistently urge large consumptions of fish every day. However, the populations of fish are rapidly dropping due to massive amounts of human harvesting. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The oceans can ... continue reading


OUT OF THIS WORLD VIDEO: Monster leech swallows giant worm caught on camera Watch

Image of Filmed for the first time on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, for the BBC Two's TV special,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an incredible new nature video from the British Broadcasting Company, or BBC, a giant red leech is seen consuming a worm's body in its entirety. In footage that appears beamed in from another planet, the leech searches the worm's body for an end, and begins ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
13 And we, your people, the flock that you pasture, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:36-38
36 'Be compassionate just as your Father is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 2nd, 2015 Image

Bl. Charles the Good
March 2: In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter