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Antarctic ice breakup caught on tape

The Guardian was far from alone in reporting this week that “A vast hunk of floating ice has broken away from the Antarctic peninsula, threatening the collapse of a much larger ice shelf behind it, in a development that has shocked climate scientists.” On The Great Beyond, Quirin Schiermeier points out that the the most noteworthy thing about this delicately poised hunk of the Wilkins ice shelf may be its media visibility: the loss of a 400-square-kilometre piece of the same shelf earlier this year received no such fanfare.

Still, that visibility is pretty spectacular. Check out this mashup of the Twin Otter plane’s flyover footage with the satellite images that tipped off British Antarctic Survey scientists:

“The ice shelf is hanging by a thread,” said David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey. “We’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.”

Anna Barnett


  1. Report this comment

    Steve Bloom said:

    That would be apples and oranges, BH. Apparently you don’t know much about the differing characteristics, trends and climatological significance of the shelf ice and sea ice. There are plenty of good resources to begin to learn, starting with the Wikipedia articles.

  2. Report this comment

    Danny Bloom said:

    This Twin Otter footage is what I’d like to start calling “a Twin Otter moment”, a piece of video or film footage that wakes people up to the reality of global warming and how humans are playing a part in all this. If you go to minute 1:52 or so in this amazine video, you can see the shadow of the Twin Otter plane as the cameraman shoots out the window at the ice shelf in the distance, and for a few seconds, one sees the airplane’s shadow against the white ice and as the plane zips by, one cannot help but marvel how, in the midst of this barren desolite ice shelf, a symbol of high IQ, technology-savvy, fossil fuel buring “mankind” puts the entire story into perspective, a Twin Otter moment indeed. Who shot that video? He or she deserves an Oscar for that: “Best Short Twin Otter Moment”

    — Danny Bloom in Taiwan, watching things from here

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