By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
Published: 11:59 GMT, 12 February 2020 | Updated: 11:59 GMT, 12 February 2020
A shocking video reveals how a huge chunk of ice more than three times the size of Paris has broken off one of Earth's most critical ice shelves, Pine Island Glacier (PIG).
This enormous frozen river, along with its famed neighbour Thwaites, connects the ocean to mainland Antarctica and is rapidly retreating.
Warmer temperatures are taking their toll on the vulnerable glacier which, if it was to collapse, would trigger a global sea level rise of around four feet.
The huge chunk of calved ice swiftly broke up into smaller icebergs, dubbed 'piglets'.
The Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites have revealed new cracks, or rifts, in the Pine Island Glacier - one of the primary ice arteries in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The two large rifts were first spotted in early 2019 and have each rapidly grown
Scientists at Copernicus have, in partnership with ESA, been monitoring the remote glacier for several years via satellites
A total of 57 independent images taken over 12 months were blended into a short video by ESA.
It reveals how a 120square mile (312 sq km) chunk of ice broke off from the glacier's main body.
This is approximately the size of the island Malta, and three times the size of France's capital city, Paris.
A series of rifts have been monitored since early 2019 and as the satellites passed over the region it caught the moment they finally fell away.
This large piece of ice them fractured into several smaller ones, with one large one iceberg being labelled as B-49.
A shocking video reveals how a huge chunk of ice more than three times the size of Paris has broken off one of Earth's most critical ice shelves, Pine Island Glacier (PIG). A total of 57 independent images taken over 12 months was blended into a short video by ESA
Adrian Luckman, a satellite imaging glaciologist, shared this image from the satellites on Twitter
Mark Drinkwater, senior scientist and cryosphere specialist at ESA said: 'The Copernicus twin Sentinel-1 all-weather satellites have established a porthole through which the public can watch events like this