GPS Tracking Device Monitoring Broke Off Antarctic Iceberg

21 Jun 2016

According to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, a group of Korean scientists has observed part of the Nansen ice shelf breaking off.

Ice shelves are large areas of ice that can range from 100 to 900 meters thick. Icebergs are large pieces of freshwater ice that have broken off from an ice shelf or glacier — are are floating freely in open water. The Nansen ice shelf is located 50 kilometers south of the Jang Bo-go Antarctic Research Station.

After part of this ice shelf broke off, it split into two icebergs, and these bergs are not moving north. One of the icebergs is 150 square kilometers and the other is 55 kilometers. Together, the surface area of these two icebergs is 70 times larger than Yeouido.

The ministry was able to witness the breaking of the ice shelf through satellite footage. This is a first in history.

In order to keep track of the broken ice, officials planted a GPS tracking device on it. The location and the movement of the iceberg will be recorded, thanks to the GPS tracking instrument. Additionally, “Arirang Five”, a radar imaging satellite, will keep a close watch on the movement of the iceberg and any melting that may occur.

In 2014, the ministry located a crack that was 30 kilometers in size along this ice shelf and they witnessed glacier water running through the crack. This information is quite troubling, as the breaking ice shelves and glaciers could have a significant impact on sea levels around the globe. When this happens, it can accelerate the migration and melting of glaciers that remain in the Antarctic. It is estimated that the sea levels around the world would rise by 70 meters if all of the glaciers at the South Pole were to melt.

According to researchers, the breaking up of this ice shelf will provide significant information regarding the reason why sea levels rise. With this information, they can work on developing procedures or practices that could have the potential to slow down the melting of icebergs and ice shelves.

This information could be extremely valuable for the entire planet, as individuals would be able to take efforts to preventing the further melting of the ice, thus preserving the life and the health of planet Earth.



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