Study: Icebergs create ocean 'hot spots'

Jun 20, 2007

A U.S. study suggests Antarctic icebergs created by global climate change are having a major ecological impact.

The study, led by oceanographer Ken Smith of California's Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, has determined global warming is causing Antarctic ice shelves to split into thousands of free-drifting icebergs in the Weddell Sea.

The floating islands of ice -- some dozens of miles across -- are serving as "hotspots" for ocean life, with thriving communities of seabirds above and a web of phytoplankton, krill and fish below.

"One important consequence of the increased biological productivity is that free-floating icebergs can serve as a route for carbon dioxide drawdown and sequestration of particulate carbon as it sinks into the deep sea," said Smith.

"While the melting of Antarctic ice shelves is contributing to rising sea levels and other climate change dynamics in complex ways, this additional role of removing carbon from the atmosphere may have implications for global climate models that need to be further studied," he said.

The researchers report in detail in the current issue of the journal Science.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate change 'tipping points' imminent

Dec 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —UC Berkeley's Tony Barnosky joined climate scientists this morning at a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to summarize a new report issued today focusing ...

Recommended for you

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Apr 18, 2014

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...