Science

Pine Island Glacier spawn PIGlets | Today's Image

Pine Island Glacier spawn PIGlets | Today's Image”

But if you weren't paying attention before, it probably is worth doing so now.

"What you are looking at is both terrifying and attractive", Mark Drinkwater, head of the Earth and Mission Sciences Division at the ESA, told CNN.

While the calving of icebergs from shelves such as the Pine Island Glacier is a natural process in the life of a giant glacier, the rate at which this glacier and others in the region have been disintegrating is a cause of concern for scientists. An image from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite was taken on February 11 showing the cracked iceberg at the edge of the glacier.

Earlier this month, the ESA's Copernicus Sentinel satellite mission captured cracks appearing and "rapidly" growing over a number of days.

The Pine Island Glacier, along with its neighbor Thwaites glacier, connect the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with the ocean, and together discharge significant quantities of ice into the ocean.

There is a lot of imbalance in the glacial system, due to the warming temperatures.

Only one of the pieces was large enough to be named (B-49) and tracked by the United States National Ice Centre. Warmer ocean water and declining snowfall are not allowing the glacier to replenish itself. The video combines 57 radar images captured by the ESA Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission over the previous year, from February 2019 to February 10, 2020. Pine Island Glacier is hard to access and since it is remote from any research bases, so flying there means making multiple short flights, making fuel depots to allow scientists to hop to the location. It also said that since the ice at the edge of the Pine Island Glacier was already floating, it will not directly contribute to sea-level rise after it melts. The ice stream is now moving at about 10 meters (33 feet) per day, which might not seem like much until you know that the average thickness of the glacier front is about 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The changes to the glacier have been mapped by ESA-built satellites since the 1990s, with calving events occurring multiple times since 1992. Last week, a region in the North West reached over 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) - nearly a full degree higher than the previous record from five years ago.

However, it should be mentioned that recent calving events are not entirely surprising or particularly threatening to global sea levels.



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