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Mayday, mayday! The world’s largest iceberg has broken off

Mayday, mayday!  The world’s largest iceberg has broken off

Based on the latest satellite measurements, the average thickness of the frozen ice mass is 280 metres. Its area is 3,900 square kilometers and its volume is 1,100 cubic kilometers, or just under a thousand billion tons. Put in some context: The Mall Tower in Budapest is 143 metres.

The measurements are European Space Agency Captured by the CryoSat-2 mission. The veteran spacecraft includes a radar altimeter that can determine the size of a mountain above the waterline. In addition, based on information about the density of ice, it is also possible to determine the size of the underwater part, wrote A. BBC.

“Altimeter satellites like CryoSat-2 allow us to monitor the thinning of the iceberg as warm ocean water exposes it to melting,” he said. Anne Brackman-Volgman,Fellow of the University of Tromsø (Arctic University of Norway).

The iceberg began to move away from the coast of Antarctica in 1986. However, according to researchers, it has now reached a critical point. The next few weeks will determine where it will continue its journey across the Southern Ocean.

The iceberg is melting slowly but surely

The A23 has been installed for more than three decades, because the iceberg is not a single mass, and some parts are thicker, so they easily sink into the mud at the shallow bottom. According to CryoSat, the ice block in question was 350 meters underwater, which is why it was able to stand still for a long time. Eventually, the block of ice gradually lost mass due to the collision, then broke free and started on its way. However, the decline has not stopped: it loses 2.5 meters of its area every year.

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The A23 is expected to follow what is known as “Iceberg Alley”, which marks the direction of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia. Scientists are following his journey with interest, as a mountain of this size has a huge impact on its environment: “They are responsible for the mixing of seawater. Nutrients are brought to the surface, but of course that also comes with a lot of dust.” Mike Meredith Professor of the British Antarctic Survey.

(Anna Kiefer)

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