Saturday, November 28, 2009

Icebergs On Way To New Zealand

This one was spotted off Macquarie Island two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog about an iceberg heading to Australia. A part of the Antarctic ice shelf had broken off and was clearly visible from Macquarie Island.

Now it seems that more pieces of the ice shelf have broken off and are floating towards New Zealand. Ships in the southern Pacific Ocean have been warned to be on the lookout for hundreds of massive icebergs.

Scientists have counted over 100 icebergs on the way to New Zealand. According to the BBC, it’s a relatively rare event. The last time a huge flotilla of icebergs amassed was in 2006; but, before that it was in 1931. Would anyone like to try spelling "global warming"?

The icebergs have already floated past Australian territory Macquarie Island

No one seems to feel that there is any real cause for concern at the present time. The icebergs aren’t in any major shipping lanes and there is very little boat traffic in the area. Even though they are headed in the direction of New Zealand, apparently there is very little chance that they will make it that far. Scientists are saying that they believe the segments will break up long before reaching the New Zealand coastline.

These icebergs must be a spectacular sight. Some of them are over 30’ high and 650’ long.

Photo via New Zeal

These icebergs were first discovered by a New Zealand glaciologist after studying satellite photography. He found that the closest iceberg was 160 miles south of New Zealand.

However, the icebergs had been spotted earlier this month off the coast of Australia. It is believed that the icebergs headed to New Zealand are chunks of the Australian icebergs. One chunk is estimated to be double the size of Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium.

A fair number of scientists feel that the icebergs originally broke away from the Ross Sea Ice Shelf in 2000 and have been drifting and slowly breaking down ever since.

The errant iceberg photographed on the run, by MSNBC

Via TreeHugger

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