Antarctic ice block bigger than Phrae set to break away

Antarctic ice block bigger than Phrae set to break away

This handout picture received from NASA via Swansea University on June 1, 2017 shows an aerial view of the Larsen C ice rift in Antarctica. AFP PHOTO / NASA/SWANSEA UNIVERSITY / JOHN SONNTAG
This handout picture received from NASA via Swansea University on June 1, 2017 shows an aerial view of the Larsen C ice rift in Antarctica. AFP PHOTO / NASA/SWANSEA UNIVERSITY / JOHN SONNTAG

A chunk of ice bigger than the Thai province of Phrae is hanging by a thread from the West Antarctic ice shelf, satellite images revealed Wednesday.

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Huge Antarctic ice block poised to snap off

Paris, July 5, 2017, AFP – A chunk of ice bigger than the US state of Delaware is hanging by a thread from the West Antarctic ice shelf, satellite images revealed Wednesday.  (That's bigger than the Thai provinces of Petchburi and Lopburi and about the size of Phrae.)

When it finally calves from the Larsen C ice shelf, one of the biggest icebergs in recorded history will be set adrift – some 6,600 square kilometres in total, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The iceberg's depth below sea level could be as much as 210 metres, or about 60 storeys, it said.

"The crack in the ice is now around 200 kilometres long, leaving just five kilometres between the end of the fissure and the ocean," the ESA said in a statement.

This November 10, 2016, image obtained from NASA shows the Antarctic Peninsula's rift in the Larsen C ice shelf from NASA's IceBridge mission Digital Mapping System. AFP PHOTO /NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

"Icebergs calve from Antarctica all the time, but because this one is particularly large its path across the ocean needs to be monitored as it could pose a hazard to maritime traffic."

Scientists tracking the berg's progression expect it to break off within months.

The Larsen C shelf will lose more than 10 percent of its total surface area.

The massive ice cube will float in water and, by itself, will not add to sea levels when it melts.

The real danger is from inland glaciers.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spill into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres, researchers have said.

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

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Vocabulary

  • accelerate: to happen or make something happen at a faster rate - เร่ง, เร่งความเร็ว, เพิ่มความเร็ว
  • block: a solid piece of stone, wood, ice etc with straight sides - ท่อนหิน, ท่อนไม้, ก้อนใหญ่, ชิ้นใหญ่
  • calve (verb): to break ice chunks off a glacier -
  • chunk: a thick solid piece that has been cut or broken off something - ก้อนหนา
  • coast: an area of land beside the sea - ชายฝั่ง
  • crack: a line on a surface where something is beginning to break apart - รอยแตก  รอยร้าว
  • depth: the distance down either from the top of something to the bottom, or to a distance below the top surface of something - ความลึก
  • extend: to include something more - ยืดออกไป ขยายออกไป
  • fissure (noun): a long deep crack in something, especially in rock or in the earth - รอยแตก
  • float: to cause to move slowly in the air or on water - ลอย
  • flow: (of a liquid) to move continuously in one direction - ไหล
  • glacier: a large mass of ice which moves slowly - ธารน้ำแข็ง
  • hanging by a thread (idiom): to be in great danger; to be very likely to fail -
  • hazard: something that is dangerous and likely to cause damage - สิ่งที่เป็นอันตราย
  • hold in check (idiom): to keep something under control so that it does not spread or get worse -
  • ice shelf (noun): a thick floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface -
  • iceberg (noun): an extremely large mass of ice floating in the sea - ภูเขาน้ำแข็ง
  • image: a photograph, painting, or other work of art that represents a person or thing - รูปภาพ
  • inland: in a direction towards the middle of a country; away from the coast - ห่างจากชายฝั่ง, ซึ่งอยู่ภายในประเทศ
  • maritime: connected with human activity at sea; near the sea or coast - ทางทะเล, เกี่ยวกับทะเล
  • massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • naturally (adverb): without special help, treatment or action by somebody - ตามธรรมชาติ, โดยกำเนิด
  • occur: to happen - เกิดขึ้น
  • peninsula: a long piece of land that is mostly surrounded with water, but is joined at one end to a larger area of land - คาบสมุทร
  • poised: about to do or achieve something - ได้มาซึ่ง
  • pose: cause something, especially a problem or difficulty - เป็นเหตุให้
  • process: a series of things that happen, especially ones that result in natural changes - ขบวนการ, ,การเปลี่ยนแปลง
  • progression: advancement, moving forwards - การเคลื่อนที่ไปข้างหน้า, การก้าวหน้าขึ้น, การพัฒนาขึ้น
  • researchers (noun): people who carry out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย
  • revealed: made known or showed somthing that was surprising or that was previously secret - เปิดเผย
  • rift (verb): a large crack or opening in the ground, rocks or clouds - ความแตกร้าว,
  • satellite: an electronic device that is sent into space and moves around the earth or another planet. It is used for communicating by radio, television, etc. and for providing information - ดาวเทียม
  • sea level: the height of the land at the edge of the sea; the average height of the sea/ocean, used as the basis for measuring the height of all places on land - ระดับน้ำทะเล
  • set adrift: to start something floating on the water - ปล่อยให้ลอยแพ
  • snap off (verb): to suddenly break off something, often with a large noise - หักออก, แยกออก
  • spill: (of a liquid) to come or fall out of a container - หกล้น
  • statement: something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion - แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง
  • storey (noun): a level in a structure; a level in a building - ชั้น, ชั้นของตึกหรืออาคาร
  • surface: the outside or top layer of something - ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก
  • track: to follow the course of a moving object such as a ship, aircraft or animal using special equipment - ติดตาม, ตามรอย
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