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South Atlantic Iceberg
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South Atlantic Iceberg

February 6, 2013
On January 25, 2013 the Aqua satellite flew over the South Atlantic Ocean, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) instrument flying aboard to capture this true-color image of Iceberg C19C adrift in the remote waters.

This large, roughly oval iceberg is one section of iceberg C-19, which calved off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in May, 2002. The “mother” iceberg was about twice the state of Rhode Island, and one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. Due to its enormous size, C-19 blocked sea ice from moving out of the southwestern Ross Sea Region for a time, resulting in high sea-ice coverage in spring and summer 2003. This subsequently blocked light in the ocean beneath the ice, and phytoplankton production under the ice was reduced by over 90 percent.

Iceberg C19C was the third segment which broke off of C-19. The U.S. National Ice Service gives its position as of January 27, 2013 as -45.9 S and -15.5 W. At that time, the iceberg was estimated to measure 14 nautical miles (16 mi, 26 km) long by 10 nautical miles (11.5 mi, 18.5 m) wide.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC