antarctica tagged posts

315 billion-tonne iceberg breaks off Antarctica

The EU's Sentinel-1 satellite system captured these before and after imagesThe EU's Sentinel-1 satellite system captured these before and after images.

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has just produced its biggest iceberg in more than 50 years. The calved block covers 1,636 sq km in area – a little smaller than Scotland’s Isle of Skye – and is called D28. The scale of the berg means it will have to be monitored and tracked because it could in future pose a hazard to shipping.

Not since the early 1960s has Amery calved a bigger iceberg. That was a whopping 9,000 sq km in area.

Amery is the third largest ice shelf in Antarctica, and is a key drainage channel for the east of the continent.

The shelf is essentially the floating extension of a number of glaciers that flow off the land into the sea. Losing bergs to the ocean is how these ice streams maintain equilibrium, balancing the input of snow upstream.

So, scientists knew this calving...

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Antarctica’s ocean colour scene under international protection

Icy seas

It is easy to be gloomy about the future of the planet – except, perhaps, for 1.55 million sq/km of water in the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic’s Ross Sea made fleeting headlines 10 days before the US presidential election when it became the world’s first marine “park” in international waters. Amid fears that president-elect Donald Tump intends to sabotage the Paris climate agreement, the 35-year pact to protect the Ross Sea is beyond his reach, according to one of its chief negotiators, Mike Walker of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance.

The deep bay, which teems with krill and toothfish and sustains whales and penguins, has several close links with Ireland...

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World’s largest reserve in Antarctic sea

Ross Sea

The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica’s waters reached an historic agreement on Friday to create the world’s largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. and Russia, which has rejected the idea in the past. Proponents of the reserve say it sets a precedent for multiple countries working together to protect a large swath of ocean, which falls outside any single nation’s jurisdiction.

The agreement covers an area about twice the size of Texas in the Ross Sea.

The deal was clinched after 24 countries and the European Union met in Hobart, Australia, this week...

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