One of the most studied ice shelves in Antarctica has recently seen big changes. While the calving process is a normal part of an ice shelf’s lifecycle, recent rifting and iceberg calving may mean that the Brunt Ice Shelf is in a period of instability. It could also be an indicator of the future of other ice shelves in this region.
Landsat satellites have watched the ice shelf for nearly five decades. In 1971, a calving event reduced its extent. This occurred just before the first Landsat launched in 1972, so the earliest Landsat observations of Brunt came during the Antarctic summer of 1972–1973.
And now, Landsat 9 has joined Landsat 8 in observing the changing rifts on the ice shelf.
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