Despite the fact that scientists have been aware of the fact that massive chunks of ice are breaking off of Antarctica at an alarming rate, we’ve probably never seen how bad it looks on a longer run.
For example, if you were to look back in history, say forty years, would you know how many icebergs have broken off of Antarctica? Could you even imagine such a thing?
Probably not until you saw a visualization that will help you understand the scale of the problem.
To help us see how bad things are at Antarctica, science animators Pixel Movers & Makers (Marlo Garnsworthy and Kevin Pluck) have created a stunning fifty-second video that displays iceberg movement from 1976 to 2017.
Only after watching it can you actually understand how much ice breaks off of Antarctica, and what that means for the rest of the world.
Garnsworthy and Pluck used data gathered from a variety of sources and agency to make their visualization, including the Center for Remote Sensing at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the European Space Agency.
The video, posted on their Twitter account can be seen here below.
We've been looking forward to making this!
Iceberg flux from Antarctica from 1976-2017.
Most icebergs travel counter-clockwise around Antarctica before travelling north through "Iceberg Alley" to the ACC.#Antarctica #iceberg #glacier #IcebergAlley @kevpluck @MarloWordyBird pic.twitter.com/MTY0jZMSxv
— Pixel Movers & Makers (@PixelMnM) November 11, 2018
Among a number of curiosities the video highlights the rupture of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002, and the movement of Iceberg B-15, which has a surface area of around 11,000 square kilometers , and the biggest recorded ice berg in history, which detached itself from the icy continent in March of 2000.
From yesterday's #IceBridge flight: A tabular iceberg can be seen on the right, floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C ice shelf. The iceberg's sharp angles and flat surface indicate that it probably recently calved from the ice shelf. pic.twitter.com/XhgTrf642Z
— NASA Ice (@NASA_ICE) October 17, 2018
“I was surprised and yet not to see an apparent uptick in iceberg flux in recent years,” Garnsworthy told Brian Kahn at Earther.
“Certainly, the calving and breakup of B-15 and the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 are pretty spectacular.”