Mobile version

Icebergs on the move

Image of the Month - September 2013



Probability of presence of small iceberg (between 100-m and 3-km length) computed from the whole series of altimeters since ERS-1. The black lines present the paths of the large icebergs (length over 6 km) as tracked by the Bringham Young University.  The movie presents the icebergs detected every month between 1993 and 2013 (black dots) as well as the mean monthly extent of sea ice.(see the animation in .avi, 5 MB) (Credits Ifremer)


Icebergs are a hazard for navigation, and an important piece in the climate puzzle. Flocks of icebergs can also significantly attenuate the sea state in the Southern Ocean.

Having twenty years of altimetry enables to compute statistics on icebergs, using the method described in the Image of the Month for November 2008 (the fact that an iceberg, being higher than the surounding ocean, reflects back the radar wave before the main oceanic background). Using the full series of available altimetry satellites (ERS-1, ERS-2, Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1 and 2, Envisat, Cryosat) a climatology of icebergs shed by the Antarctic continent has been computed. The  three main areas of icebergs concentration corresponding to the three main gyres of the Southern Ocean circulation are clearly seen. In the South Atlantic, where large icebergs are regularly caught in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (the "iceberg alley")  small icebergs travel far North (up to 50°S). In the other oceans, the presence of small icebergs North of 60°S is more sporadic and corresponds to large icebergs caught in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

With now Saral flying and measuring, the statistics will be continued, improving our knowledge of both icebergs moves and how Antarctica is shedding them.


See also:

Other website on this subject:

Rss feedsContactPartnersFAQLexiconLegal noticePersonal Data Protection PolicyMobile
You must enable cookies in your browser preferences to save the modifications
You are using an older version of Internet Explorer, please update to take full advantage of Aviso+ features

Customize the home page

View all widgets
Reduce display
Public profile
User profile

Select/Deselect widgets

Discover AVISO+

Customizable home, reading tools, products search guide, etc.. Discover step by step the features of the new site AVISO+.

Customizable homepage

This home page is composed of blocks called "widgets".

Rearrange the blocks with a "Click & Drop".

Hide a widget with the cross at the top right. Reset or add a widget with the "wrench" icon. The "User" and "Public" profiles offer a predefined organization.

All the modifications are automatically saved as cookies on your machine so as to enable you to have your own specific AVISO+.

Reading tools

Ease your reading by choosing the page background colour (black/white) and/or by modifying the font size.

Browsing menu and breadcrum trail

To ease your browsing through AVISO+, you can use at any time the main banner items with the interactive submenus or use the browsing menu on the left side of the screen (it is open by default). For more readiness of the page contents, you can fold and unfold the browsing menu by clicking on the tab. At any time you can know where you are thanks to the browsing menu or the breadcrum at the top of the page.

Products search guide

The first submenu of the "Data" banner item leads you to a new search form enabling you to find quickier the product that suits your needs. The list of results is updated according to your selection criteria.

AVISO+ Multimedia

The first submenu of the "Multimedia" banner item leads you to AVISO+ collections of images and videos linked to altimetry and its applications. Have a nice visit!