On June 17, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8 captured this false-color image of the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf. Orange depicts where the surface is warmest, while light blues and whites are the coldest areas. The deep blue hue around the crack indicates that relatively warm ocean water is not far below the icy surface.
Nighttime Pictures Reveal Antarctica's Cracking Ice Shelves
Using satellite images, NASA keeps an eye on the region's shifting ice even during the total darkness of polar winter.
You could call it the crack heard 'round the world.
For years, scientists had been monitoring the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, watching as an enormous rift in the ice grew in fits and starts. Then, on July 12, one of the largest icebergs in history broke off the shelf. (See maps that show the decades-long decline of Larsen C.)
Now known as A68, the massive iceberg has completely separated from Larsen C. But for scientists concerned about polar melt, their work is only beginning. Keeping a close eye on A68 and other icebergs in the Weddell Sea is important for understanding the global effects of climate change.
There's just one problem: It is currently winter in Antarctica, and it's