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Singapore-sized iceberg breaks away from mainland Antarctica

The giant iceberg could come in the way of shipping lanes along the Southern Sea.
By Ananth Baliga   |   Nov. 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM   |   Comments

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A giant iceberg estimated to be 270 sq. miles in size has broken away from the Pine Island Glacier and is floating into shipping lanes.

U.K. researchers who first observed the iceberg in July have been given $80,000 and six months to predict its movement through the Southern Sea. The researchers have already observed several miles of water between the iceberg and the glacier that spawned it.

"It often takes a while for bergs from this area to get out of Pine Island Bay but once they do that they can either go eastwards along the coast or they can… circle out into the main part of the Southern Ocean," said Prof. Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield.

According to Bigg, even though the crack looked as if it cut through the glacier a few months ago the iceberg remained attached because of the winter cold. But in the last few months the iceberg has shifted and now they can see a mile of water between the iceberg and glacier.

"Part of the project is to try to simulate what we think the berg might do, given the... wind fields being experiencing in the region recently," said Bigg.

The team of scientists from Sheffield and the University of Southampton will use a number of satellites to predict the path of the berg. If it did move into shipping lanes, a warning would be issued across the world.

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