Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

Gigantic iceberg sails north from the Antarctic

by Live Science/Sail-World Cruising on 16 Nov 2013
Satellite image of gigantic iceberg broken from Pine Island Glacier, now drifting north .. .
If you are contemplating ever sailing into the Southern Ocean, there's a new hazard that you might need to look out for. Live Science has reported that, after lingering in its birthing bay for nearly six months, an Antarctic iceberg measuring about 270 square miles in area, or the size of Singapore, is finally heading out to sea.

Strong winds blowing off the continent are pushing the giant floe away from its parent, the giant Pine Island Glacier, and the warming Southern Hemisphere has melted the thick winter sea ice that held the block in place since July, said Grant Bigg, an ocean modeler at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

The latest satellite images show several kilometers (a couple of miles) of open water between the iceberg and the glacier, Bigg told LiveScience.

'We've been waiting for this to happen,' Bigg said.

The enormous ice block took more than two years to calve (break off) from Pine Island Glacier. A spectacular crack crossing the glacier was first discovered during a NASA IceBridge research flight in October 2011. The iceberg broke free on July 8, 2013, measuring about 278 square miles (720 square kilometers), according to tracking by TerraSAR-X, an Earth-observing satellite operated by the German Space Agency (DLR).


Bigg recently received a grant to track the drifting floe, which could disrupt international shipping lanes.

Icebergs sailing into the ocean from West Antarctica may stay close to the continent's coastline, causing little hazard, or launch out into the Southern Ocean toward the Drake Passage near South America's Cape Horn.

Bigg and his colleagues plan to try to predict the iceberg's path up to a year in advance, based on ocean currents and prevailing winds. The modeling will help the shipping industry improve ice warnings, he said.

Huge icebergs such as the spawn of Pine Island Glacier often shatter into several pieces, and Bigg's team will track and model the fragments if the chunk collapses.

Already, a few small pieces have broken off the west side of the iceberg as it moved in the past few days, Bigg said.

'Each of the last three years has seen a giant iceberg calve, from either Greenland or Antarctica,' he added. 'Being able to track and forecast the tracks of these huge blocks of ice will be a major benefit to the shipping industry, particularly as more ships begin to use polar waters, as Arctic sea ice melts. This ability is what we aim to develop.'

For more information about the iceberg, being watched closely for a couple of years since the original rift was noticed, see this video, created a year ago:

Southern Spars - 100Mackay BoatsHelm Events 660x82

Related Articles

Alternative energy - being embraced by the sailing world
Within the cruising world of sailing alternative power is old news, now the racing world is catching up fast. Renewable energy is a hot and sometimes controversial topic on land, but within the sailing world wind generators are old news, and being 'independent of the grid' is taken for granted.
Posted on 27 May 2013
Royal Yacht Squadron leads the armada against windfarm plan
Royal Yacht Squadron is orchestrating a campaign against the world's largest wind farm off the south coast of England Britain's most prestigious sailing club, the Royal Yacht Squadron, is orchestrating a campaign against the largest wind farm ever planned in the world, off the south coast of England. It fears the Navitus Bay wind farm could impact on the main sailing route from the Isle of Wight to the south west, including the Fastnet Race, which starts in Cowes and finishes in Plymouth.
Posted on 9 Apr 2012
Dogs join Ocean Environment Action Group
Is your dog passionate about the ocean environment? No longer does he have to bark in vain, he can be a 'Salty Dog'. Is your dog passionate about the ocean environment? If so, no longer does he have to bark in vain - Sailors for the Sea have a new category of membership - 'The Salty Dog' Membership
Posted on 18 Mar 2011
New Alliance to save whales AND sailors
Campaign group and sailors to work together for better environmental practice at sea for whales London-based campaigning organisation the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the organisation running the Global Ocean Race 2011-2012 (GOR) announce a unique partnership to seek ways to prevent collisions between whales and yachts. The partnership between a race organisation and an environmental organisation will benefit all cruising sailors, not only those who race
Posted on 15 Mar 2011
60ft Plastiki sets sail from San Francisco
The voyage of the Plastiki began in earnest yesterday as the 60’ man made plastic catamaran was towed unceremoniously ou The voyage of the Plastiki began in earnest yesterday as the 60’ man made plastic catamaran was towed unceremoniously out to sea of the San Francisco coast and released in calm condition and a gentle swell. The mission, the brain child of David de Rothschild , heir of the de Rothschild European banking dynasty began in 2006 and has seen its share of delays and setbacks, and a lack of cooperating w
Posted on 22 Mar 2010
Global Ocean Race on the World Yacht Racing Forum
Josh Hall, Race Director of the Global Ocean Race shared in a debate on methods of cutting overall costs in yacht racing Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, was one of the keynote speakers on the second day of the WYRF and supplied invaluable insight into the mechanics behind this highly successful event and shared the stage with Josh Hall, Race Director of the Global Ocean Race, in a debate on methods of cutting overall costs in yacht racing
Posted on 11 Dec 2009
World Yacht Racing Forum- the Business of Yacht Racing, Final Day
Highlight of the day was the America’s Cup session - with Russell Coutts, Paul Cayard and Brad Butterworth Among the highlights of the day were the America’s Cup session - with the exceptional presence of both Russell Coutts, Paul Cayard and Brad Butterworth - as well as the contributions by double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and Brown GP F1 team CEO Nick Fry
Posted on 11 Dec 2009
Velux 5 Oceans launches 'Taking On The Elements'
Concept brings together all the key stakeholders in the race under the umbrella of the shared value of sustainability The Velux 5 Oceans today launched its sustainability agenda under the banner of ‘'Taking On The Elements'. The concept brings together all the key stakeholders in the race under the umbrella of the shared value of sustainability, providing a basis of understanding and a platform for activities and communications in 2010 and 2011
Posted on 9 Dec 2009
Study finds surprising new pathway for North Atlantic circulation
Oceanographers have long known that the 20-year-old paradigm for describing the global ocean circulation Oceanographers have long known that the 20-year-old paradigm for describing the global ocean circulation – called the Great Ocean Conveyor – was an oversimplification. But while the conveyor belt paradigm establishes the melody, the subtleties and intricacies of the symphony of global ocean circulation largely remain a puzzle.
Posted on 27 May 2009