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Last updated::2018-01-09    



The Collapse of the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica: The CSRSR Simultaneously Grasps the Climate Change

Assistant Professor Tseng Kuohsin from the Center for Space and Remote.. Assistant Professor Tseng Kuohsin from the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research utilizes altimetry and remote sensing satellites to study the surface variation of the Antarctic Ocean.

The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has recently undergone huge iceberg collapse. Using data from European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellites, the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research (CSRSR) at NCU clearly observed the position of the latest fractured surface. In addition, with the research literature and images of radar echo intensity, the CSRSR calculated that the total area of the broken iceberg was about one-sixth of Taiwan’s land, and the total volume of water was more than a trillion metric tons, which was about 500 times of the total capacity of all reservoirs in Taiwan.

The CSRSR used the active C-band of radar frequency of Sentinel-1 satellites. It can help capture the unusual changes of the Earth’s surface without being affected by clouds, fogs, and sunlight. The center uses the grid radar imagery with 2 x 14 square meters image resolution to judge whether the surface of the area is smooth or coarse in order to further illustrate the ruptured section and calculate the whole area.

“Such a huge-scale fracture is not the first time for the Larsen C ice shelf. The iceberg has been floating on the sea for a period of time, and so far it won’t immediately result in a sea level rise. However, its departure might accelerate the process of erosion and melt of the remaining ice shelf. As the issue of global warming and sea temperature rise keeps casting a shadow on the Earth, remaining ice shelves in Antarctica are in a precarious state. In the long run, it would largely affect the ocean currents and sea levels around the globe,” said Dr. Tseng Kuohsin , Assistant Professor of the CSRSR.

Dr. Tseng described that the collapsed iceberg is the very front of the Larsen C ice shelf. The iceberg to the Larsen C ice shelf is like a bumper to a car; the fracture is a significant indicator. When huge-scale cracks occur to an ice shelf, it will make the regional shelf become more unstable and influence the whole ecosystem of the Earth. With those scientific data, the CSRSR expects that people become more “aware” and pay more attention to such a life-or-death environmental issue for human existence. “The collapse is something irreversible, or at least it is barely possible to recover during a person’s lifetime. Therefore, human beings should take some actions on controlling greenhouse gas emission,” said Dr. Tseng.


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