Monday, April 12, 2021

A giant iceberg could collide with a colony of penguins in the South Atlantic | Antarctic

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The giant iceberg moves with the currents and is about the size of South Georgia Island, which it threatens.

A standard iceberg is heading to South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic, where scientists say a collision could devastate wildlife, including penguins, seals and albatrosses.

Scientists have spent weeks watching this climate-related event unfold, as the iceberg – roughly the same size as the island itself – meandered and progressed for two years since it broke. Antarctic Peninsula in July 2017.

The peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on earth, registering a record high temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 degrees Fahrenheit) on February 9.

The gigantic iceberg, nicknamed A68a, is about to collide with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off South America. [Copernicus Sentinel-Pierre Markuse/Handout via Reuters]

The gigantic iceberg – dubbed A68a – is about to collide with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off South America. It is not known whether this collision is days or weeks away, as the iceberg accelerated and slowed with ocean currents along the way, said Geraint Tarling, a biological oceanographer with the British Antarctic Survey who tracked the ice mass.

A collision is still uncertain, as currents could carry the iceberg past the island, Tarling said.

“The currents around the island are complex, and there’s always a possibility that it’s missing,” Tarling said.

Images captured by a British Royal Air Force plane and released on Tuesday show the scale of the monstrous 4,200 square kilometer (1,627 square miles) iceberg, its surface sculpted with tunnels, cracks and fissures. A number of small chunks of ice can be seen floating nearby.

A group of chinstrap penguins walk on top of an iceberg floating near the Lemaire Channel, Antarctica [Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

“The sheer size of the A68a iceberg means it is impossible to capture its entirety in one shot,” UK officials said in a statement.

Scientists fear that the iceberg, hitting the island, will crush marine life on the seabed. If he was staying on the side of the island, he could block penguins and the seals leave their usual forage routes to feed their young.

The A68a could also be an obstacle for government vessels carrying out fishing and surveillance patrols around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, UK officials said.



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