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Fraser
2003-Oct-02, 06:17 PM
SUMMARY: NASA satellites have been watching a gigantic iceberg as it disrupts the fragile Antarctic marine environment. The iceberg, named C-19, is 32 km wide and 200 km long; it broke off the Ross Ice Shelf back in May 2002. The problem is that the iceberg stopped winter sea ice from moving out of the Ross Sea region. Phytoplankton, which needs sunlight, was reduced by 90%, and so the rest of the ecosystem suffered too. The iceberg is being watched with NASA's Terra and OrbView2 satellites.


Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

RATNIK
2003-Oct-02, 08:45 PM
B) Hey Fraiser,

I just wanted to ask a lil question bout the ice berg. Is it posing any threat for us or is it just going to continue floating without causing serious damage? If posing threat...what kind of?

Thanks all for now

Ratnik B)

Fraser
2003-Oct-02, 10:52 PM
No, it's still lodged off the coast of Antarctica - it's been there for more than a year. No threat.

Josh
2003-Oct-03, 03:25 AM
As far as i know ice shelves don't crack off pieces this big all that often. I wonder if it is due to higher than average temperatures being reorded around the world? I know birds in many areas are starting to nest earlier and earlier each year which means the seasons are out of wack. Is this global warming an effect of humans on the environment or the natural cycle of Earth? As far as danger to us goes ... I don't think the actual iceberg is posing any real threat. But what it represents might! If plankton are in short supply then many other marine life including and especially marine mammals could suffer greatly.

DippyHippy
2003-Oct-05, 01:07 AM
Am I right in saying as well that the plankton act as a kind of thermostat for the Earth?

eggplant
2003-Oct-05, 04:38 AM
Probably more like an air conditioner... makin' oxygen, lots of it. The Plankton drop is a local affect directly attributal to the icebergs containing the sea ice and blocking the sun from the plankton, (mostly algae, or algal plankton would be most affected ((plankton is anything that can't swim against the current)) ) Nonetheless, the 90% drop will certainly affect the food chain of the larger area surrounding it which is a vital feeding grounds for many a species. So fewer plankton mean fewer krill which means fewer anchovies and skinny whales.
Not a good sign...
Notable is that it's the second largest iceberg to fall off the Ross ice shelf in about 5 years. At 124 mile long it will be around a while and perhaps the trapped sea ice will freeze over to extend the shelf and help cool the planet... ya never know... Might be wise to capture some of the clean fresh water from an ice cube that size though... All right you physicists out there, how many zepplins would it take to lift a block of ice 124 miles long by 30 mile wide and probably a half a mile thick?
Answer?
1 really big one... ;)
it may be that the ice caps and glaciers are the worlds thermostat, the plankton are also a barometer in their own right...

DippyHippy
2003-Oct-06, 12:10 AM
Fewer anchovies?! :o

What will the pizza industry do?!

Matthew
2003-Oct-06, 09:21 AM
the pizza indrustry doesn't use anchovies anymore, even if you ask for them, you'll only get 1 or 2 on a whole pizza!

Are there any estimates for how long this ice berg is going to stay off the coast of Antarctica?

DippyHippy
2003-Oct-07, 02:24 AM
Ahhhhh... we get anchovies on pizzas here in the UK... I wouldn't miss them if they decided not to put them onto pizzas though LOL