Armchair iceberg tracking

In July 2008, a 27 square kilometer iceberg calved from the Petermann Glacier: between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Scientists from the CCGS Amundsen placed radio beacons on the iceberg, which has subsequently shifted position and lost some volume. You can actually track the beacon online. The larger piece remains 22 square kilometers in area, and thus may pose a risk to the offshore oil industry in spring of 2009.

Apparently, with an iceberg of this size normal ‘iceberg management’ techniques cannot be employed. You just have to hope it doesn’t run into something.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

4 thoughts on “Armchair iceberg tracking”

  1. A vast iceberg that broke off eastern Antarctic earlier this month could disrupt marine life in the region, scientists have warned.

    They say the iceberg, which is 78km long and up to 39km wide, could have consequences for the area’s colonies of emperor penguins.

    The emblematic birds may be forced to travel further afield to find food.

    The iceberg calved from the Mertz Glacier Tongue after it was was hit by another huge iceberg, called B9B.

    “It is a very active area for algae growth, especially in springtime,” explained Dr Neal Young from the Australia-based Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre.

    “There are emperor penguin colonies about 200-300km away to the west. They come to this area to feed, and seals in the area also come to get access to the open water,” he told BBC News.

    He suggested that a change in the availability of open water could affect the rate of food production, which would have an impact on the amount of wildlife it could sustain.

  2. “A giant iceberg that snapped away from Greenland last week is a signal that global warming is causing the island’s continent-sized ice cap to melt faster than expected, scientists say.

    The 100-square-mile chunk, four times the size of Manhattan, broke away from the Petermann ice shelf on Greenland’s northwestern tip.

    The breakoff — the largest in the Arctic in half a century — points to Greenland’s worrying potential to raise sea levels in the coming decades and centuries, climate experts say.

    “It is a warning sign that we are seeing changes,” said University of Colorado glaciologist Konrad Steffen, who is overseeing the Greenland section of a major report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), due in 2013.

    “The ice sheet is continuing to lose volume at an accelerated rate,” he said by phone.

    “We are now at 350 cubic kilometres [84 cubic miles] ice loss per year. That’s more than twice the ice in all the glaciers in the Alps.”

    If it melted completely, Greenland’s ice sheet could boost the global water mark by at least 17.5 feet.

    None of the world’s several dozen top specialists believes this scenario to be likely over the next two or three centuries.”

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