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Posts tagged Antarctic Peninsula

Early Summer Melting Affecting Fuchs Ice Piedmont, Adelaide Island, Antarctica – January 7th, 2013

67.1S 68.1W

January 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Glaciers and Ice Caps, Image of the day

Antarctica – January 6th, 2013

Small icebergs can be seen breaking off the coast of Antarctica, near Adelaide Island (upper right quadrant). Adelaide Island, also known as  Isla Adelaida and Isla Belgrano, is a large, mainly ice-covered island, 75 miles (121 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide, lying at the north side of Marguerite Bay off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Ginger Islands lie off the southern end.

Located on Adelaide Island is the Fuchs Ice Piedmont, an ice piedmont (ice covering a coastal strip of low-lying land backed by mountains) that is 70 nautical miles (130 km) long, extending in a northeast–southwest direction along the entire west coast of the island. According to Chilean scientists, the snow-covered surface of the glacier has progressively deteriorated over the years, due to increasingly early summer melting. Crevasses appear on the glacier surface progressively earlier in the summer, presumably due to higher snowmelt and perhaps higher ice velocities, in response to regional atmospheric warming.

Phytoplankton in the Bellingshausen Sea Off Coast of Antarctica

72.2S 81.5W

February 2nd, 2010 Category: Climate Change, Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton Off Coast of Antarctica - January 25th, 2010

Phytoplankton Off Coast of Antarctica - January 25th, 2010

The Bellingshausen Sea is an area along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, between Alexander Island and Thurston Island. It takes its name from Admiral Thaddeus Bellingshausen, who explored in the area in 1821. Here, a faint green phytoplankton bloom is visible in the sea, not far from the icy shores of Antarctica.

Recent scientific research has shown that as the cold, dry climate of the western Antarctic Peninsula becomes warmer and more humid, phytoplankton – the bottom of the Antarctic food chain – is decreasing off the northern part the peninsula and increasing further south. Marine scientists have reported that levels of phytoplankton off the western Antarctic Peninsula, where temperatures have been rising, have decreased 12 percent over the past 30 years.

The reason for the decrease in the North and the increase in the South is that in the North, sea ice cover has become minimum while wind mixing of the waters and the number of cloudy days have both increased. This increase in mixing and cloudiness means less light, which means less photosynthesis and less phytoplankton. In the South there is also less sea ice, but, contrary to in the North, there is also less mixing and fewer clouds, meaning more illuminated waters, more photosynthesis and more phytoplankton.

Smyley Island and the Rydberg Peninsula, Antarctica

72.8S 77.8W

May 23rd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Smyley Island and the Rydberg Peninsula, Antarctica - May 18th, 2009

Smyley Island and the Rydberg Peninsula, Antarctica - May 18th, 2009

Smyley Island, partially visible at the top right, is an Antarctic island lying off the Antarctic Peninsula, northeast of Rydberg Peninsula in Ellsworth Land.

The island, which is 68 km long and between 14 and 38 km wide, is completely covered by ice.

The Rydberg Peninsula (center) is a broad ice-covered peninsula, 30 miles long, between Fladerer Bay and Carroll Inlet, Ellsworth Land.

This ASAR (radar) image shows contours in the surface of the ice around the peninsula and island.

Icebergs from Wilkins Ice Shelf Float Past Latady Island

70.7S 74.9W

May 20th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - May 18th, 2009

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - May 18th, 2009

Cracks by Latady Island

Cracks by Latady Island

Icebergs from the desintegrated Wilkins Ice Shelf continue to break away from the Antarctic Peninsula and move into the open ocean.

These icebergs were previously contained by an ice bridge reaching Charcot Island (partially visible, far left), until it shattered about seven weeks ago.

In the full image, the icebergs can be seen floating off in all directions. Many can be observed left of Latady Island (bottom), others towards Rothschild Island (top).

The ice shelf and Latady Island remain connected, however fractures near the border continue to widen.

Loss of Ice from Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica

70.7S 74.9W

May 13th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - May 12th, 2009

Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica - May 12th, 2009

Cracks by Latady Island

Cracks by Latady Island

Since the ice bridge connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf (center) to Charcot Island (upper left in the full image) broke six weeks ago, the icebergs from the desintegrated shelf have been moving further away from the Antarctic Peninsula.

The ice shelf is still connected to Latady Island (lower left),  although fractures in the area have formed and widened.

According to the European Commission, researchers predict that the northern edge of the ice shelf will continue to discharge icebergs over the coming weeks, and it is expected to lose between 570 and 3,370 square kilometres of ice. This loss might be even greater if the connection to Latady Island is broken as well.

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