More frequent icebergs could trash Antarctic sea floor

Mon, 2008-07-21 13:25Todd Carmichael
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More frequent icebergs could trash Antarctic sea floor

While not much life exists on the icy surface of the Antarctic, life is teaming undersea and scientists are now worried that more frequent icebergs could pose a real threat to these underwater inhabitants.

Antarctic sea spider

In an article, Ice scour disturbance in Antarctic waters, published in the prestigious journal Science, members of the British Antarctic Survey have concluded that as temperatures continue to rise due to global warming, an increasing number of bottom-scouring icebergs could literally scrape away many of the species that live in Antarctica's shallow waters.

Cushion stars in the shallow Antarctic waters

The rate of iceberg scouring on the West Antarctic Peninsula seabed is affected by the duration of winter sea ice, which has dramatically declined (in space and time) in the region over the last few decades due to climate warming. This increase in iceberg disturbance on the seabed, where the majority of all Antarctic life occurs (80%), could have severe effects on the marine creatures living as deep as 500m underwater.


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Previous Comments

What is causing all these icebergs?

“The rate of iceberg scouring on the West Antarctic Peninsula seabed is affected by the duration of winter sea ice, which has dramatically declined (in space and time) in the region over the last few decades due to climate warming.”

My understanding is that many of the massive icebergs in the past have been held in place by winter sea ice. With rapid warming, there is less sea ice to hold these icebergs.

But… Anarctica isn’t warming, except a small portion of it.

Would be great if you could please include a link when making claims.

Thanks. 

There is no native human population in Antarctica, nor are there any large land animals. Few species are adapted to the antarctic environment, but individuals of these few species are numberless. Life that depends completely on the land is limited to microscopic life in summer meltwater ponds, tiny wingless insects living in patches of moss and lichens, and two types of flowering plants (both in the Antarctic Peninsula). 

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Nice article thank you for sharing
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