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Post at: Jul 09 2021

A 76 World’s Largest Iceberg


On 13 May 2021, the world’s largest iceberg named A-76 has carved out from Antarctica.

What is an iceberg?
An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that has broken off a glacier or an ice shelf and is floating freely in open water.

  • The new iceberg was first spotted by Keith Makinson, a polar oceanographer with the British Anarctic Survey in May 2021.
  • It was spotted in satellite images captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission.
  • The iceberg is named as A-76 by the scientists. It is broken off from western Antarctica in the Veddel sea.
  • This iceberg is around 170 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide with an area of 4320 km2 slightly larger than the Spanish island of Majorea.
  • A-76 is the latest in a series of large ice blocks to dislodge in a region acutely vulnerable to climate change.
  • It joins the previous world’s largest title holder A-23 A which has remained in the same area since 1986.
  • It is described as being shaped like a giant ironing board.

How naming is done?
Icebergs are traditionally named after the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally detected.

  • When ice-berg calves out from Antarctica, it adds up to the rising sea levels.
  • But in this case, the iceshelf from which this berg carved out was already floating on water, hence less concern.
  • The main concern is the warming of Antarctic ice sheet. This will lead to melting of snow & ice covers as well as retreat of glaciers.

However influxes of warm water in the region (Antarctic) are affecting the natural process & increasing the rate at which ice-berg carve out.

Amit Gupta

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