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Cracks Signal Massive Iceberg Forming In Antarctica 147

Several readers have submitted news (as covered by an AFP article carried by the Sydney Morning Herald) that a massive iceberg is forming in the Antarctic. The rift in the PIne Island Glacier "is widening at a rate of two metres a day, said NASA project scientist Michael Studinger. When the ice breaks apart, it will produce an iceberg more than 880 square kilometres, said Mr Studinger, who is part of the US space agency's IceBridge project. But the process is not a result of global warming, he said." Also at the BBC.
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Cracks Signal Massive Iceberg Forming In Antarctica

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @07:53AM (#37964446)

    "...Intuitively, a block of ice breaking away from a bigger block of ice kinda makes me think there's melting, thus warming, involved..."

    Why do you think that? This is the end of a GLACIER. Usually, glaciers move (slowly) downhill, until they reach warmer regions, where they melt. In this case the glacier moved downhill until it met the sea, upon which it floated out. After a fair bit has floated out, it will break off, due to flexing in the waves and tides. That is what has just happened, with a rather big bit...

    Actually, if it is cold and snowy up in the mountains, the glaciers will move faster. And more bits will fall off the end of the glacier, more rapidly. This is often shot by journalists at the foot of the glacier, and used as 'confirmation of Global Warming'.....

  • Re:See? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:01AM (#37964466)

    A paper published in Nature back in December describes the cause: []

    Here we combine our earlier data with measurements taken in 2009 to show that the temperature and volume of deep water in Pine Island Bay have increased. Ocean transport and tracer calculations near the ice shelf reveal a rise in meltwater production by about 50% since 1994. The faster melting seems to result mainly from stronger sub-ice-shelf circulation, as thinning ice has increased the gap above an underlying submarine bank on which the glacier was formerly grounded. We conclude that the basal melting has exceeded the increase in ice inflow, leading to the formation and enlargement of an inner cavity under the ice shelf within which sea water nearly 4C above freezing can now more readily access the grounding zone.

  • Re:Where will it go? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:11AM (#37964502)

    From wikipedia: []
    About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.

    From summary:
    it will produce an iceberg more than 880 square kilometres.

    From wikipedia: []
    Surface area
    510,072,000 km2[12][13][note 5]
    148,940,000 km2 land (29.2 %)
    361,132,000 km2 water (70.8 %)

    From google []:
    ((880 (km^2)) * (1,6 km)) / (361 132 000 (km^2)) = 3,89885139 millimeters

    Answer: About 4mm.

  • Re:Where will it go? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arlet ( 29997 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:21AM (#37964536)

    The end of the glacier is much thinner than the average antarctic ice sheet, and it's already floating in the water, still attached to the glacier. If it breaks off, it's not going to raise water levels any more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:40AM (#37964590)

    When the GW and now CC crowd couldn't get enough money by begging, taxing, and creating tariffs to e.g. stop cutting the forests near the equator, they resorted to taking it in the form of carbon credits. It's all about stealing from future generations and making them serfs. The GW and CC crowd are just pawns and they don't even know it. Maybe they know it and they think they will be rewarded, sadly no.

    Along the same lines have you been watching Greece lately? The plan is for the ESM(European Stability Mechanism) treaty to force countries to take out loans which they don't want and can't repay. Did you know the people that run the ESM are immune from prosecution, immune from taxes, immune under any court of law? Did you know the 2 people who are in line to be Prime Minister of Greece are already part of the ESM elites, banksters. With other upcoming elections around Europe, it will be interesting to see who gets put in power. Watch as more than half will be banksters and the ESM will be guaranteed.

    You can clean up the world without taxes. Why do that when you can own it? Why do that when you can make everyone a serf?

  • by Arlet ( 29997 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:42AM (#37964594)

    Global warming, and local climate change. Past winters were actually warmer than usual, even though people remember them as cold. That's because they only look in their back yard, and not at the world as a whole.

    Past winter, it was warm in South America, North Africa, the Middle East, and it was exceptionally warm in the Arctic. All averaged out over the whole world, including oceans, it was +0.43 degree Celsius warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline.

    The winter of 2009-2010 was even warmer, at +0.68 deg C, even though the US and Europe were below average.

  • Video on the crack (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stirling Newberry ( 848268 ) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @09:29AM (#37964712) Homepage Journal
    As one of the readers who mentioned this in a submission: [] is a good short video story version on this, including some graphics on ice flows and pictures of the crack. Quite well done. Not this isn't a GW/CC event, but it is a chance to see the formation of a crack in progress, which we do not always catch. All icebergs start with this cracking process, and icebergs form in warm and cold periods of history. Understanding the ice dynamics of how flows of build up turn into stress is the ice equivalent of studying plate tectonics: the science of large solid plates bending, cracking, and then failing.
  • Re:See? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:43AM (#37965030)

    Sorry, if you look a bit you'll find former members of the IPCC that admit their conclusions were not published as found by science but highly exaggerated to create a political and economic result.

    in other words, the IPCC cannot be considered an unbiased scientific organization. Their reports and results are driven by the political needs of their parent organization, the UN.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito