New footage of two of the planet's biggest icebergs released
Aerial footage of the gigantic A81 iceberg, which calved from the Brunt Ice Shelf in late January 2023, was released by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on March 13. According to the council, the iceberg is 1550 kilometers squared (km2), which is the size of London- and there's another, twice its size, also on the move.
The summer team captured the A81's entry into the Weddell Sea from the air as they departed from the local BAS Halley Research Station. The new images reveal the iceberg's dynamic nature and how it was surrounded by smaller icebergs that also broke off.
A81 broke free when Chasm-1, a colossal ice fissure, traversed the entire Brunt ice shelf. While this calving is a naturally occurring phenomenon along the Antarctic coastline, A81 does stand (or float) as the second major iceberg in the region in the past two years.
"This was a calving we knew was coming... High-precision GPS instruments, as well as satellite data, have been used to monitor the widening of the chasm, and in 2016 BAS took the precaution of moving the Halley Research Station inland to protect it," said Glaciologist Dr. Oliver Marsh in a press statement, who studies the Brunt Ice Shelf and has just returned from Halley Research Station.
The BAS carefully followed A81's path after breaking from the ice shelf, initially spinning around. It has been drifting ever since, traveling 150 kilometers from its point of origin to the south Atlantic basin. Scientists anticipate that it will move westward in the same manner as earlier icebergs swept by the powerful Antarctic Coastal Current.
Iceberg- double the size of London- is also on the move
A76A is another giant iceberg in motion. This massive piece of ice is a component of the A76 iceberg, formed in mid-May 2021 after calving from the Antarctic's Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.
A76 split into three sections as it moved north, the largest being A76A. It is twice the size of Greater London, measuring 135 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide, and it is currently traveling toward South Georgia.
"Our major concern at the moment is the possible risk for vessels operating in the region as the iceberg begins to break up and calve smaller chunks of ice," said Dr. Mark Belchier from the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
"It looks as though A76A may end up heading west of South Georgia, not east where A68 broke up, but there is still so much uncertainty around this. We will be watching its movement closely."