Drifting icebergs threaten ships
At least 100 icebergs are drifting from Antarctica to New Zealand, prompting a shipping warning.
Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 03:36 PM
Photo: Agence France-Presse
Massive hunks of ice are drifting from Antarctica to New Zealand in a rare event that could put ships in danger. Experts have identified over 100 chunks and say there could be hundreds more heading toward the main South Island.
The icebergs are the remains of an enormous ice floe that split from the Antarctic due to rises in sea levels and air temperature from global warming. Some of the chunks measure more than 650 feet across.
"All of these have come from a larger one that was probably 30 square kilometres (11.6 square miles) in size when it left Antarctica," scientist Neal Young told AFP.
"It's done a long circuit around Antarctica and now the bigger parts of it are breaking up and producing smaller ones."
The unusual spectacle may become more frequent if Earth’s temperatures continue to rise, says Young.
"If the current trends in global warming were to continue I would anticipate seeing more icebergs and the large ice shelves breaking up.”
To prevent going down like the Titanic, ship captains need to be on the lookout. New Zealand has issued coastal navigation warnings for the area where the icebergs have been spotted.