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NEW ICEBERG BREAKS OFF OF LARSEN ICE SHELF

Satellite image of iceberg A-53 as seen on Feb. 1, 2005.Feb. 4, 2005 ó A new iceberg, about twice the size of Dallas, Texas, has formed in the frigid waters around Antarctica, according to the National Ice Center in Suitland, Md. This latest development comes just three weeks after the world's largest iceberg, which measured the size of Long Island, N.Y., came close to crashing into a mammoth glacier, called the Drygalski Ice Tongue. (Click satellite image for larger view of iceberg A-53 as seen on Feb. 1, 2005. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “Canadian Space Agency.”)

Using satellite imagery from the Canadian Space Agency, the NIC discovered the new iceberg, named A-53, when it broke off from the Larsen Ice Shelf on January 31. It measures 35 nautical miles on its longest axis and 16 nautical miles on its widest axis.

The Larsen Ice Shelf is a large sheet of glacial ice and snow, extending along the eastern portion of the Palmer Peninsula, within the westernmost section of the Weddell Sea. A-53 is centered near 67.2S 60.5W.

"Some icebergs of similar size that have broken off from the Larsen Ice Shelf have remained in the area for a while, while others have journeyed north," said Sean Helfrich, a NOAA meteorologist at the National Ice Center. "A-53 likely will not leave the Weddell Sea this year, and may even break off into additional icebergs sometime this year."

Satellite image of iceberg A-53 as seen on Jan. 9, 2005.Iceberg names are derived from the Antarctic quadrant where they are first sighted. When they are first spotted, the NIC documents an iceberg's point of origin. The iceberg is assigned the letter of the quadrant, along with the sequential number. For example, A-53 is sequentially the 53rd iceberg the NIC has tracked in Antarctica between 0-90 W (in the Bellinghausen/Weddell Sea) in Quadrant A. (Click satellite image for larger view of iceberg A-53 as seen on Jan. 9, 2005. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “Canadian Space Agency.”)

Located in Suitland, Md., the National Ice Center is a tri-agency operational center, represented by NOAA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The NIC mission is to provide worldwide operational ice analyses for the armed forces of the United States and allied nations, U.S. government agencies and the private sector.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites
National Ice Center

NOAA Antarctic Photos

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA Satellites and Information Service, (301) 457-5005