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How does science measure the size of icebergs?

How does science measure the size of icebergs?

Scientists have discovered the true size of the world's largest iceberg A23a. This was only possible thanks to satellite measurements, which indicate that the ice sheet has an average total thickness of about 280 metres.

Photo: Freebeck

The known area of ​​A23a is 3,900 square kilometers. This means that the approximate volume is 1,100 cubic kilometers and its mass is just under a trillion tons.

Photo: Freebek

To understand the size of the glacier: Brazil's largest skyscraper, One Tower, in Balneário Camboriú (SC), is 290 metres, only 10 meters higher than the glacier. But the A23a is more than twice the size of São Paulo, shaped like a credit card.

Image: Wikicommons

The European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite measured A23a because it has a radar altimeter that can detect part of an iceberg above the waterline. Using ice density data, it is possible to calculate the submerged portion of the object.

Image: Disclosure

Other useful information, such as the thinning of an iceberg or its interaction with ocean water of different temperatures, can also be measured using CryoSat-2.

Photo: Flippar

Iceberg A23a has reached the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and is now interacting with local currents and winds. Scientists believe it will follow “Iceberg Alley” toward South Georgia, depending on environmental conditions.

Photo: BBC News Brazil

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Photo: Flippar