Giant iceberg breaks off Antarctic glacier

The images were captured by the European Space Agency

Sound familiar? That's because it probably is. Pine Island Glacier is hard to access and since it is remote from any research bases, so flying there means making multiple short flights, making fuel depots to allow scientists to hop to the location.

Scientists are concerned for the health of the Pine Island Glacier.

Video released from the ESA shows a time lapse of 57 radar images taken by the Sentinel-1 satellite, which belongs to Copernicus, a joint EU-ESA program created to provide high quality monitoring of Earth.

A 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) iceberg broke off Pine Island Glacier (PIG), Antarctica's biggest glacier and also the fastest melting one of the continent.

The Pine Island Glacier, along with its neighbor Thwaites glacier, connect the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with the ocean, and together discharge significant quantities of ice into the ocean.

Scientists believe global warming has caused so much melting at the south pole that the giant ice sheet is now on course to disintegrate.

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According to NASA, the region around the two glaciers contains enough vulnerable ice to raise the ocean by 4 feet (1.2 meters).

Researchers note that the ice loss of these two glaciers over the last 25 years is outstanding. This break-up, known technically as a calving event, is the seventh this century for PIG, and the ninth since ESA-built satellites began monitoring the region in the 1990s. Since the early 1990s, the ice speed of the Pine Island glacier has increased dramatically to values exceeding 10 meters per day.

The calving came after the hottest temperature was recorded on the continent at 20.75 degrees Celcius (68F) as logged by Brazilian scientists at Seymour Island on 9 February was nearly a full degree higher than the previous record of 19.8C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.

"Sea level rise can have huge economic and societal impacts". Last week, a region in the North West's temperature reached 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit), which is nearly a one degree higher than the previous record from five years ago.

He said he hopes the images would continue to be an "eye in the sky" to monitor glacial change and improve public knowledge.

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