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Does loss lead to instability?

02 August 2017

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Thanks to the satellite era, we recently witnessed the birth of one of the biggest icebergs on record. While the breakup of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf hit the headlines around the world, this dramatic event also presents scientists with a unique opportunity to learn more about ice-sheet stability.

On 12 July, Europe's Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission returned radar images showing that a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg had broken off the Antarctic Peninsula.

Since then, this large tabular iceberg – known as A68 – has drifted about 5 km from the ice shelf. Images from Sentinel-1 also show that a cluster of more than 11 smaller icebergs has now also formed, the largest of which is over 13 km long.

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