The first images reveal the size of the drifted plate

The first images reveal the size of the drifted plate

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), UK National Foundation for Antarctic Research, Published First photos The air is huge Iceberg A81the size of London, which cut the Brant Ice Bridge at the end of January 2023. In this way, it is possible to estimate the extent of this drifting ice sheet.

This is what the giant iceberg A81 looks like

When the summer team left the research station Bass Haleywitnessed from the air the beginning of the journey Iceberg A81 for him Weddell Sea. The images show the dynamic nature of the ice sheet that surrounds it Smaller icebergs which also separates, according to a base.

After almost two months of separation An iceberg the size of London It hovers about 150 km from its origin. The area of ​​the research station is currently largely unaffected by rock. This “birth” is a natural process along the Antarctic coast with A 81the second Big Jimeberg to the region within two years.

After leaving the ice shelf, the glacier turned around and headed south. it is expected that A 81 Follow the footsteps of former icebergs swept west by the powerful Antarctic coastal current. Scholars a base And the community at large will continue to track and monitor you as you continue to drift through Weddell Sea.

Was the detachment of the ice sheet really predicted?

ice world Dr. Oliver Marchwho studies The Great Ice Shelf Just got back from the research station Haleythat landslides were expected.

“This was a birth we knew was coming. BAS has been monitoring the Brunt Ice Shelf and the faults that formed through it for more than a decade. Since glaciologists first noticed the expansion of Chasm-1 in 2012, BAS science and operations teams have been anticipating the birth event.”

Dr. Oliver March

The direct lead of the specialists is Iceberg A76A. This huge chunk of ice is part of Iceberg A76 that started working after start up Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in mid-May 2021. while traveling north, A 76 It split into three pieces, the largest of which is called A76A.

What are the dangers of the A81 iceberg drift?

Scientists fear that the breakup of the first ice sheet in 2021 could affect marine life, so the risk of Iceberg A81 It can be just as dangerous for ecosystems on the sea floor.

An iceberg of this size would have a significant impact on the ocean ecosystems that support the rich diversity of marine fauna found in this Antarctic region. These influences can be both positive and negative.

Geraint Tarling, BAS Ecosystems Team Leader

On the plus side, like Ice mountain Dissolved, it will release a large amount of nutrients that can benefit the growth of microscopic plants such as phytoplankton in the base ocean food webs.

The downside is that this same melting, on such a large scale, causes a lot to happen Sweetened water in the ocean, lowering salinity levels and making the water unsuitable for the many phytoplankton and zooplankton that feed on it. These effects can then be transmitted through the food web to fish, birds, seals and whales.

These are the properties Iceberg A81:

  • It covers an area of ​​1,550 square kilometers, roughly the size of Greater London
  • It left the Brent Ice Shelf on January 22, 2023 and traveled about 150 km south along the coast.
  • It formed from the Chasm-1 fault that lay dormant until 2012 and has been closely studied by BAS.
  • It is expected to follow the Antarctic coastal current around the Weddell Sea as with past icebergs

Scholars a base You will continue to observe the behavior of the iceberg A 81in an effort to better understand the magnitude of the impact on glacial ecosystems.

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