Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Brest, France (AFP) Nov 14, 2013
An iceberg the size of Manhattan has broken off a glacier in Antarctica and could survive long enough to drift into international shipping lanes, scientists said Thursday.
A team led by British scientists has been monitoring the iceberg since it broke off the Pine Island Glacier in July in a bid to predict its path and environmental impact.
"An iceberg that size could survive for a year or longer and it could drift a long way north in that time and end up in the vicinity of world shipping lanes in the Southern Ocean," said Dr Robert Marsh, from the University of Southampton.
"There's a lot of activity to and from the Antarctic Peninsula, and ships could potentially cross paths with this large iceberg, although it would be an unusual coincidence," he said.
Icebergs that large -- Manhattan is 33 square miles (87 square kilometres) -- break off glaciers on average every two years, the scientists said.
The team's work will help track such drifting behemoths, which are likely to become more common as global warming encourages glacier "calving".
Large icebergs are not only a potential threat to shipping but also have an impact on the environment and could affect ocean currents.
"If these events become more common, there will be a build-up of freshwater which could have lasting effects," said Professor Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield.
Beyond the Ice Age
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|