Envisat Captures Splitting iIceberg

Mar 14, 2008
Splitting iceberg captured by Envisat
Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) sensor captures the break up of the massive A53A iceberg located just east of the South Georgia Island (visible at image bottom) in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Both bergs are estimated to measure around 30 km in length. As a reference, South Georgia Island is approximately 180-km long. Credits: ESA

Envisat captures the break up of the massive A53A iceberg located just east of the South Georgia Island (visible at image bottom) in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

A huge fissure was spotted running south to north through the berg on 1 March by C-CORE, the Canadian ice-tracking service, while studying satellite images collected from Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument using the Polar View monitoring programme.

The radar image indicated the berg was unstable and likely to split. Just days afterwards on 4 March, Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) sensor captured the break. Both bergs are estimated to measure around 30 km in length. As a reference, South Georgia Island is approximately 180-km long.

The break up of A53A, which calved off the Larsen Ice Shelf in late April 2005, occurred in relatively warm waters, making it highly likely that numerous smaller icebergs and ice islands will calve off the two icebergs.

Several different processes can cause an iceberg to form, or ‘calve’, including deterioration from high temperatures or the sun's radiation, action from winds and waves or a collision with another iceberg.

Since 2006, ESA has supported Polar View, a satellite remote-sensing programme funded through the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Service Element (GSE) that focuses on the Arctic and the Antarctic.

GMES responds to Europe’s needs for geo-spatial information services by bringing together the capacity of Europe to collect and manage data and information on the environment and civil security, for the benefit of European citizens.

ASAR is able to produce high-quality images of icebergs and ice sheets and is capable of differentiating between different types of ice because it is able to see through clouds and local darkness – conditions often found in polar areas.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Did an exceptional iceberg sink the Titanic?

Aug 18, 2014

While the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 is typically blamed on human, design and construction errors, a new Significance paper points to 2 other unfavorable factors outside human control: there were a grea ...

Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream

Aug 21, 2014

The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ...

Cosmic matters: Stormy weather on Uranus

Aug 07, 2014

(Phys.org) —Weather on any planet can be quite unpredictable. As hurricanes threaten the Aloha State, astronomers working at W. M. Keck Observatory on the island of Hawaii were surprised by the appearance ...

Great Lakes welcome rising water levels

Jul 08, 2014

After years of parched shorelines, water levels in the Great Lakes have come rushing back. The crowds that flock to the Superior shoreline this summer are finding harbors deeper and beaches narrower than they've been in 15 ...

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

7 hours ago

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

12 hours ago

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

Aug 28, 2014

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

Aug 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0