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Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Three giant bergs calved in Antarctic
Bergs Noaa
Space view: Three icebergs are formed
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

Satellite images have revealed that three massive icebergs have been calved from the Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea on the Antarctic coast.

At the moment, they are confined to coastal regions and are no threat to shipping.

Icberg A-43A is 168 by 33 km (107 by 21 miles), A-43B is 84 by 35 km (53 by 23 miles) and A-44 is 60 by 32 km (41 by 20 miles).

Iceberg A-43 was detected using the United States Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Optical Linescan Sensor on 5 May. It is known to have calved from the Ronne Ice Shelf sometime during the afternoon or evening of 4 May as satellite imagery indicates that the ice shelf was still intact on that morning.

Iceberg A-44 is believed to have calved in the afternoon or evening of 6 May at or near the time that A-43 broke in half.

The motions of the icebergs, among the biggest seen to be formed in Antarctica, are monitored by the United States National Ice Center based in Maryland.

It is unlikely that these calving events are the result of regional climate warming. With the loss of these three icebergs, the front of the Ronne Ice Shelf returns to about the same position it occupied in the 1950s.

Large Antarctic ice shelves advance slowly and calve icebergs periodically.

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27 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Cyber-sailors to survey oceans
02 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Iceberg threat to shipping
20 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Falklands on alert for giant berg
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