Glacier half the size of PEI separated from Antarctica: its movement is unpredictable, and the possible consequences are terrible

Glacier half the size of PEI separated from Antarctica: its movement is unpredictable, and the possible consequences are terrible

Scientists have always been fascinated by the glaciers. The thought that there are blocks of water ice the size of whole cities, and even more, causing a feeling of admiration, but also an unusual fear.

The gap has spread across the ice sheet Larsen C and thin, 5 miles off a long piece of floating ice, all that holds 6,600 square kilometers large iceberg that sails in Wendellovo sea.

For comparison, the giant block of ice is the size of PEI.

Measuring height and depth

Scientists are watching the future runaway iceberg by satellite, CryoSat. Most of the iceberg is under water, a satellite of the European Space Agency (EAS) has a special radar altimeter with which can calculate exactly how many deep underwater part of the iceberg.

From the measured height CryoSat orbits projecting over ice water, and then by means of a relatively simple calculation leads to the size of the hidden part of the water.
“CryoSat has two radar antenna by which we can make the new model the height of the iceberg,” said Dr. Noel Gourmenel the University of Edinburgh.

It has been calculated that the average thickness of a block of 190 meters, but there are places where it grows to 210 meters. This means that the ice above the sea comes up to a height of 30 meters.

Paths Santa (red) around Antarctica (black). Historical examples show that the new Santa end up in the southern Atlantic Ocean
Paths Santa (red) around Antarctica (black). Historical examples show that the new Santa end up in the southern Atlantic Ocean

The importance of knowing the future navigation routes

Dr. Gourmelen says it is estimated that the Santa approximately 1,155 cubic kilometers of ice. It is a very useful information because it tells scientists where and how to quickly Larsen object could move after release. And this is a critical thing for the case to reach Santa shipping lines sailing and become a danger to sailors.
On moving floes affect currents and winds, but they need to pay attention to a couple of factors because of the huge size of the iceberg. And one of them is the influence of gravity.

Because of the mass of the Antarctic surface water near the continent is higher than it was in the middle of the ocean, and that more than half a meter. Santa Larson simply will slip down that slope. But this will happen only in the case that the lower part does not get stuck to the bottom of the ocean.

Shallows around Antarctica

The waters around Antarctica are shallow and there is a chance that the Santa bury. Data from CryoSat tell scientists where Santa can go and where not.
“Iceberg often temporarily stranding but turn and change direction. So to Santa with Larsen C could travel a little longer until it manages to get away from the shallow waters of the Western Wedellovog must, “explains Dr. Mark Drinkwater , a senior EAS-ins scientists responsible for Earth observation.

But most likely will Santa end up in a stream that surrounds the South Pole and over it in the Atlantic south. However, for this it will take several years.

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