New Iceberg Breaks off in Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea

The National Ice Center in Suitland, Maryland, reports a new iceberg, 233 square miles in area splintered away or “calved” from the Pine Island Glacier in the Amundsen Sea in Antarctica this fall. Iceberg B-21 was detected November 15 using satellites in the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, which are operated by NOAA.

The instrument used to image the iceberg is the Optical Linescan Sensor. The iceberg is known to have broken away from the Pine Island Glacier sometime between Nov. 10 and 11, according to imagery. B-21 is located in the vicinity of latitude 74.76 degrees south, longitude 102 degrees east, and has moved northwest since calving from the Pine Island Glacier. B-21 measures 25.3 by 9.2 statute miles.

Iceberg names are derived from the Antarctic quadrant in which they were originally sighted. The are divided counter-clockwise in the following manner:
A = 0 to 90 degrees West longitude (Bellinghausen/Weddell Sea)
B = 90 West to 180 (Amundsen/Eastern Ross Sea)
C = 180 to 90 East (Western Ross Sea/Wilkesland)
D = 90 East to 0 (Amery/Eastern Weddell Sea)


When an iceberg is first sighted, the National Ice Center documents its point of origin. The letter of the quadrant, along with a sequential number, is assigned to the iceberg. For example, B-21 is the 21st iceberg the Ice Center has found in Antarctica in Quadrant B since it began monitoring in 1976.

The National Ice Center, a tri-agency with representation from the U.S. Navy, NOAA, and the U.S. Coast Guard, provides worldwide operational sea ice analyses and forecasts tailored to meet the requirements of U.S. national interests. The center tracks icebergs using remotely sensed data provided in-part by satellites operated by NOAA and the Department of Defense. 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 our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

For more details, contact Defense Meteorological Satellite Program at, or call Patricia Viets at NOAA, at (301) 457-5005 or ENS Christi Montgomery at the National Ice Center, (301) 457-5303, ext. 306.


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