Press release: For immediate release (not embargoed)

Giant iceberg is born in Antarctica, 13 October 1998

This is a local (to ICD) copy of the official BAS press release.

Today 13 October 1998 the British Antarctic Survey received a satellite image showing an iceberg, approximately 150 km x 35 km, has broken off Ronne Ice Shelf, in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica (approx 77 S 50 W). In this region the front of the ice has now retreated to its 1947 position. The Ronne iceberg is four times the size of the last large iceberg to calve in the region which came from Larsen Ice Shelf.

Dr Doake said Regular calving of large ice bergs is a natural part of the life-cycle of an ice shelf. We have been expecting this event for some time.... Although ice shelves are retreating on the Antarctic Peninsula as a result of regional warming, we do not believe that this event is associated with climate change.

BAS has a small depot on the iceberg but expects to be able to use it for air operations as normal since the iceberg is large and stable.

British Antarctic Survey conducts a number of diverse research projects on Antarctic ice and climate. These projects aim to give a detailed understanding of the behaviour of the continent's ice and the role it plays in global climate processes.

The image is available in several formats at


Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press and Information Office, Tel no 01223 221448.

Dr T Lachlan-Cope, 01223 221484
Prof E M Morris, 01223 221 492/480
Dr J Turner 01223 221485 e-mail
Dr D G Vaughan, 01223 221481
Fax: 01223 302093

Notes for editors:

The satellite image was collected by the US NOAA weather satellite and received at the BAS station at Rothera in the Antarctic Peninsula by the ARIES receiver.

Dr C S M Doake predicted in 1996 that this region of the ice shelf was at risk and was likely to calve within a decade. By analysing the pattern of forces within the ice shelf he found that the ice within about 60 km of the front was vulnerable to calving. Dr Doake's paper appeared in the Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf Programme (FRISP) Report No. 10. in 1996.

The image is available in several formats at

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