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Posts tagged Antarctica

Icy Surface of Adelaide Island, Antarctica

67.1S 68.1W

January 25th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Antarctica – January 7th, 2013

Although it may be connected to Antarctica by an ice bridge, the large land mass on the left side of the image is in fact an island: Adelaide Island, also known as  Isla Adelaida and Isla Belgrano. The island is mostly ice-covered, and is 75 miles (121 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide. Parts of the island, in particular the Fuchs Ice Piedmont – ice covering a coastal strip of low-lying land backed by mountains extending in a northeast–southwest direction along the entire west coast of the island – are being affected by climate change. Scientists have reported atmospheric warming causing inscreasingly early summer melting on the island, leading the snow-covered surface of the ice piedmont to deteriorate over the years.

Start of Iceberg Calving Off Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica – February 6th, 2012

75.1S 100W

February 6th, 2012 Category: Climate Change, Glaciers and Ice Caps

Pine Island Glacier - January 28th, 2012

The Pine Island Glacier, visible at the center of this image, is a large ice stream flowing west-northwest along the south side of the Hudson Mountains into Pine Island Bay, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. The image focuses on a floating ice shelf at the downstream end of Pine Island Glacier. The crack shows the start of a large iceberg calving.

The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10 percent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier Basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the sea than any other ice drainage basin in the world and this has increased due to recent acceleration of the ice stream.

The Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers are two of Antarctica’s five largest ice streams. Scientists have found that the flow of these ice streams has accelerated in recent years, and suggested that if they were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 0.9 to 1.9 m (2 ft 10 in to 6 ft 3 in), destabilising the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet and perhaps sections of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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.

Glaciers Flowing into the Gardner Inlet, Antarctica

76S 67.5W

December 22nd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Antarctica - November 30th, 2009

Antarctica - November 30th, 2009

Two glaciers flow into the northern part of the Gardner Inlet near the mountains of the Rare Range in Antarctica in this orthorectified image.  The name of the range is an acronym for the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition.

The Irvine Glacier (west) is 40 miles (64 km) long, draining southeast between the Guettard Range and the Rare Range. The glacier was named for George J. Irvine, of the Engineer Depot at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, who outlined the RARE photographic program.

The Wetmore Glacier (east) is also about 40 miles (64 km) long, flowing southeast between the Rare Range and Latady Mountains. It was named for Alexander Wetmore, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who assisted Ronne in laying out the scientific research program of the expedition that discovered it.

Ice Rises Parallel the Coast of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

75.8S 53.4W

December 16th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Antarctica - November 30th, 2009

Antarctica - November 30th, 2009

Three ice rises appear here as long parallel lines near the edge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Ice rises are rounded elevations that form where the ice shelf touches areas in the seabed that are elevated, but nevertheless below sea level.

The ice shelf flows over these higher parts of the seabed and completely covers them with ice. The ice rises formed in this manner are typically 100 to 200 meters high.