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 June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

NEW FURRY CRITTER: Hairy-chested crab found trolling at over 7000 feet deep in Antarctic hydrothermal vents identified Watch

Image of The Kiwa tyleri must spend its days in observance of these delicate laws of nature. If they get too close to the vent they will be scalded, but if they stray too far they freeze.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Kiwa tyleri is a furry breed of crab that is only found in the hydrothermal vents in Antarctica. The species can only thrive in water that is between 945 and 104 degrees in Antarctica - making it rare indeed. Growing to only two inches in length, the Kiwa ... continue reading


What ALL Americans need to know about the California drought Watch

Image of California grows and exports a majority of the fruits and nuts eaten by the rest of the country, so water shortages there affect food supply everywhere.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Entering its fourth year, the water shortage in California is being described as "extreme to exceptional drought." Everyone is expected to conserve - not just in California, but also in all surrounding states. Below are facts that everyone needs to know . LOS ... continue reading


Scientists discover amazing corals that adapt to climate change Watch

Image of The Coral Reef Southern Red Sea near Safaga Egypt.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have cross-bred corals coming from different latitude with variety of temperatures underwater and found that there are some corals that adapt better in climate change than others. With the rapid decline of coral reefs, experts are hoping that this new ... continue reading


Life on Mars: Are humans one step closer to living on Mars? Watch

Image of Is this the future home for humans?

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the pressing idea that humans have to find suitable life outside Earth in mind, many projects and experiments are being conducted to find a livable environment on Mars. The planet is not yet suitable to live on but a new project suggests that they may have the ... continue reading


Scientists literally could not make heads or tails of bizarre organism of Cambrian age Watch

Image of Researchers have since learned after using sophisticated imaging techniques that at the end the Hallucigenia's head long and slender neck resembling a hose-like tube.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A spiny little organism rightfully called the Hallucigenia sparsa - so hallucinogenic was it in appearance, had scientists scratching their heads, literally unable to make heads or tails of it. Living in the Cambrian age of 508 million years ago, the ... continue reading


Running late? No worries, we get an extra second this month - Find out why Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earth runs in an inconsistent speed, so to synch it up with the atomic clock, June 30, 2015 will be longer by a second. This extra second, added after midnight, is called a leap second. This is not the first time extra time has been added in order for several ... continue reading


Will lions soon face extinction? A shocking 23,000 animal species now nearing extinction Watch

Image of Lions are just one of the 23,000 species facing extinction. Others include the New Zealand Sea Lion.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The king of the jungle, the mighty lion, the African Golden Cat, the New Zealand Sea Lion and two crab species, namely Karstama balicum and Karstama emdi, are just a few out of nearly 23,000 species now facing extinction, according to the International Union for the ... continue reading


NASA releases surprising images from dwarf planet, Ceres Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Dawn spacecraft's recently acquired photos of Ceres, reveal a surprising pyramid-shaped form on the surface of the dwarf planet. The mound is being described like a lone mountain. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Ceres, the dwarf planet, is 590 miles ... continue reading


What to expect: Scientists believe we are entering the 'sixth great extinction' Watch

Image of According to the research team, species are disappearing at a rate 100 times faster than would normally be expected... and this is a conservative estimate.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers declare that Earth is entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity. While previous periods of extinction were due to the whims of Mother Nature, this "sixth great extinction" is manmade - and we could all be gone within three generations. LOS ... continue reading


Human extinction in 100 years -- Scientist fears it is too late to make any meaningful changes Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five years ago, Australian microbiologist, Dr. Frank Fenner, warned of the possible human extinction in a hundred years over blatant environmental degradation and overuse. Now, engineer and science writer David Auerbach went over the idea of human extinction again and ... 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, Genesis 19:15-29
15 When dawn broke the angels urged Lot on, 'To your ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
2 Probe me, Yahweh, examine me, Test my heart and my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat followed by his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 30th, 2015 Image

First Martyrs of the See of Rome
June 30: The holy men and women are also called the “Protomartyrs of ... 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