New Delhi: In September 2017, a massive iceberg – over 250 square kilometers in size – broke off from an enormous Antarctic glacier.
Now, new satellite images captured on December 15 have revealed that the same iceberg – that broke off from the Pine Island Glacier – dubbed B-44 has fragmented into more pieces.
The Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest in West Antarctica and loses 45 billion tonnes of ice to the ocean each year – equivalent to one millimeter of global sea level rise every eight years.
The single glacier alone contains 1.7 feet of potential global sea level rise and is thought to be in a process of unstable, ongoing retreat.
NASA revealed the images of a cracked iceberg captured by the Landsat 8 Earth-orbiting satellite.
According to NASA, an area of relatively warm water, known as a polyna, has kept the water ice-free between the iceberg chunks and the glacier front.
It is believed that the polynya’s warm water could have caused the rapid breakup of B-44.
The space agency says that based on parameters including the azimuth of the Sun and its elevation above the horizon, as well as the length of the shadows, it estimates that the iceberg rises about 49 meters above the water line.
That would put the total thickness of the berg—above and below the water surface—at about 315 meters.
The ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions has long since been under scientists' radar and has been losing ice at a rapid pace.
In July this year, a trillion tonne iceberg, dubbed A68, separated completely from the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf and drifted out into the sea.