An iceberg named A68A spanned 5719 square kilometers, one-quarter the size of a whale. Traveled 4,000 kilometers across the Southern Ocean over three and half years drifted close to South Georgia at the end of 2020.
A68A avoided damaging the seafloor near South Georgia by melting, which reduced its size as it kept traveling from Antarctica. However, the iceberg melting meant it released 152 billion tons of fresh water into the ocean close to the island, potentially compromising the fragile marine ecosystem in the area.
“Our ability to study every move of the iceberg in such detail is thanks to advances in satellite techniques and the use of a variety of measurements. Imaging satellites record the location and shape of the iceberg, and data from altimetry missions add a third dimension as they measure the height of surfaces underneath the satellites and can therefore observe how an iceberg melts,” said Tommaso Parrinello, CryoSat Mission Manager at the European Space Agency (ESA).