|Image acquired October 26, 2012. NASA.|
There was still some thin sea ice nearby (lower left), but for comparison, see this image when sea ice was more abundant near the front. Scientists have no way of knowing exactly when the iceberg will break off, but they suspect that the absence of sea ice may hasten the birth. “Sea ice acts as a buttress or a damper to sea swell, protecting the front of these ice shelves or glaciers from calving,” explained NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt. “So the fact that there’s no sea ice in front of Pine Island Glacier right now implies that it might be primed to calve.” - NASA's Earth Observatory.