Pine Island Glacier (PIG), in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, has an area of 175,000 square kilometres and loses about 45 billion tons of ice each year. Climate change has been blamed for the thinning of the Pine Island Glacier as warmer waters chip away at the ice.

Now, footage from the ESA has revealed just how quickly the glacier is crumbling, with smaller icebergs continuously breaking away from PIG.

The footage was taken from February 2019 to February 2020, showing a 300-square-km, about the size of Malta iceberg breaking away.

A statement from the ESA said: “Thanks to images the Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions, two large rifts in the glacier were spotted last year and scientists have been keeping a close eye on how quickly these cracks were growing.

“This animation uses 57 radar images captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission between February 2019 and February 2020 (the last frame is from yesterday, 10 February 2020) and shows just how quickly the emerging cracks grew and led to this calving event.”

Mark Drinkwater, senior scientist and cryosphere specialist remarked: “The Copernicus twin Sentinel-1 all-weather satellites have established a porthole through which the public can watch events like this unfold in remote regions around the world.

“What is unsettling is that the daily data stream reveals the dramatic pace at which climate is redefining the face of Antarctica.”

Since 1975, the world has been warming at an alarming rate, with scientists stating that the global temperature has risen by roughly 0.15 to 0.20C per decade.

While this figure seems relatively low, global warming is undoubtedly having an effect on the polar ice caps which continue to melt.

Since 1979, the volume of ice in the Arctic, or North Pole, has shrunk by an astonishing 80 percent – which scientists have warned will cause major sea level rises.

If just the West Antarctic Ice sheet, where the Pine Island Glacier is, were to completely melt, sea levels would rise by three metres.

Climate models have shown that a sea level rise of more than two metres could permanently submerge large parts of the British coastline with the likes of Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary all under threat.

The planet has already seen an increase of 1C compared to pre-industrial levels which will contribute massively to the melting of the ice caps and subsequent sea level rise.

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As it stands, sea levels are rising at about 8mm a year due to melting ice, and while that does not seem like much, the implications for future generations could be huge.

Between 1993 and 2014, sea levels rose by 66mm – or roughly 3mm per year.

If it continues at the current rate, or gets faster, it could mean coastal cities such as New York could be submerged by the end of the century.

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