NASA is using GPS tracking devices to keep an eye on a gigantic iceberg in Antarctica. The iceberg, labeled B31, is about 240 square miles and recently broke free from the Pine Island Glacier.
Scientists are less concerned about keeping track of it and more concerned about losing track as the Antarctic winter approaches, meaning long periods of darkness making the floating ice island difficult to spot.
Pine Island glacier has been melting at a rapid pace due to global warming and as NASA glacier expert Kelly Brunt explains, “Iceberg calving is a very normal process. However, the detachment rift, or crack, that created this iceberg was well upstream of the 30-year average calving front of Pine Island Glacier (PIG), so this a region that warrants monitoring.”
B31 has been outfitted with 37 GPS trackers that will also allow the agency to monitor whether or not the large iceberg moves into one of the many shipping routes in the southern oceans.