Breathtaking Aerial Photos reveal Enormous London-sized iceberg breaking off Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica

First aerial photos of London-sized A81 iceberg calved from Brunt Ice Shelf has been released by British Antarctic Survey (BAS).


For the very first time, scientists have successfully obtained pictures and video recordings of a colossal iceberg that detached from its parent ice shelf in Antarctica back in January of this year. The mammoth A81 iceberg has drifted nearly 150 kilometers away from its origin, Antarctica's Brunt ice shelf, since then.

The enormous iceberg A81, which is equivalent in size to Greater London, is expected to enter the Weddell Sea as it continues to be carried forward by powerful currents. Its dimensions are roughly 1550 square kilometers.

The footage was recorded by a team of scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) who were en route from the Halley Research Station on the ice shelf.

Have a look at this Stunning aerial Footage of A81 Iceberg:

Climate Change Impact on Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf

Antarctica's Brunt ice shelf, being one of the most intensively watched ice shelves globally, is undergoing significant changes due to climate change. The researchers' visual evidence indicates that the A81 iceberg is encircled by smaller icebergs that have broken off from it.

Origin of A81 Iceberg

According to scientists, the iceberg calved from a sizable crevice in the ice known as Chasm-1, which spanned the entire ice shelf. They clarified that this event was a normal process along the Antarctic coastline, with A81 being the second significant iceberg from the area to break away in the last two years.

"This was a calving we knew was coming. BAS has been monitoring the Brunt Ice Shelf and the chasms formed across it for over a decade. Since glaciologists first observed Chasm-1 widening in 2012, BAS science and operations teams have been anticipating the calving event," glaciologist Dr. Oliver Marsh, said in a statement.

As the strong Antarctic Coastal Current pounds the iceberg, it has rotated. Scientists will continue to keep an eye on A81's movements as it traverses the Weddell Sea and proceeds northwards to the South Atlantic basin.

The Largest Floating Iceberg On Earth

In the meantime, another iceberg, measuring 135 km in length and 25 km in width, is heading towards South Georgia. This colossal iceberg, which is the most massive floating iceberg worldwide, broke away from the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in mid-May 2021.

Concerns have been raised by researchers, who warn that when the iceberg approaches shallower waters, it may pose a risk to local wildlife in South Georgia and the nearby Shag Rocks.

Professor Geraint Tarling said in a press release “An iceberg of this size will have a big impact on the ocean ecosystems which support the rich diversity of marine wildlife found in this Antarctic region. These impacts may be both positive and negative. On the positive side, as the iceberg melts, it will release a lot of nutrients. The negative side is that this same melting, at such a large scale, dumps lots of freshwater into the ocean which decreases salinity levels."