Originally published by NASA Earth Observatory on January 11, 2023. Story by Kathryn Hansen. Edits by EarthSky.
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Antarctic sea ice in speedy decline this 12 months
NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc acquired the picture above on December 11, 2022, with its Average Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The picture reveals an roughly 1,000-kilometer-long (600-mile-long) phase of the Antarctic Peninsula: an icy, snowy peninsula that stretches throughout the Southern Ocean towards South America. To the east of the peninsula is a gigantic floating platform of glacial ice referred to as the Larsen Ice Shelf. Additional, to the east of that, sea ice drifts within the Weddell Sea.
On the time Aqua acquired this prime picture, sea ice across the continent was breaking apart and melting. That’s as a result of it’s summer time within the Southern Hemisphere. Sea ice soften in Antarctica is a seasonal prevalence that normally begins in September and continues into February. Nonetheless, the decline up to now within the 2022-2023 season has been particularly steep. Certainly, in line with the Nationwide Snow and Ice Knowledge Heart, the extent of sea ice round Antarctica on the finish of December 2022 was the lowest in 45 years of satellite records. Furthermore, sturdy winds and heat air temperatures possible contributed to the quick decline.
Not all ice drifting within the Weddell shaped from sea water; in truth, among the blocky items are icebergs that broke off from the Larsen Ice Shelf, proven within the picture above. The group of icebergs towards the underside of the picture are from ice that first broke from the shelf in late November 2022. The Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9 acquired the detailed view of the bergs above on December 31, 2022.
A number of giant icebergs
Christopher Readinger, an ice analyst on the U.S. Nationwide Ice Heart (USNIC), used the European Area Company’s Sentinel-1a satellite tv for pc to verify the break on November 27, 2022, and identified several icebergs that had been no less than 10 nautical miles lengthy, giant sufficient to be named and tracked by the USNIC. Iceberg A-80A was the most important, measuring about 19 kilometers (19 nautical miles) lengthy and 17 kilometers (9 nautical miles) large. Moreover, it stayed that measurement via no less than January 6, 2023.
Backside line: Pictures acquired by way of satellite tv for pc – over the previous month – on exceptionally clear days in Antarctica. Sea ice decline up to now within the 2022-2023 season has been particularly steep. In actual fact, in line with the Nationwide Snow and Ice Knowledge Heart, the extent of Antarctic sea ice on the finish of December 2022 was the bottom in 45 years of satellite tv for pc information.
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