Big iceberg may collide with south Atlantic penguin colony | Antarctica
The huge iceberg moves with the currents and is roughly the size of the threatened South Georgia Island.
A giant iceberg is moving towards South Georgia in the South Atlantic, where scientists say a collision could destroy wildlife like penguins, seals, and albatross.
Scientists spent weeks observing this climate-related event as the iceberg – roughly the size of the island itself – has been twisting and evolving for over two years since it broke off the Antarctic Peninsula in July 2017.
The peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on earth and recorded a record temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius on February 9th. Warming has made scientists concerned about the melting of ice, which is leading to higher sea levels around the world.
The giant iceberg, called the A68a, is on its way to collision with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off South America [Copernicus Sentinel-Pierre Markuse/Handout via Reuters]The gigantic iceberg – called the A68a – is on a path to collision with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off South America. However, whether this collision is days or weeks away is unclear as the iceberg has grown faster and slower with ocean currents along the way, said Geraint Tarling, a British Antarctic Survey biological oceanographer who tracked the icy mass.
A collision is still uncertain as the currents could carry the iceberg past the island, Tarling said.
“The currents around the island are complex and it is still possible that they might be missing,” said Tarling.
Images captured by a British Royal Air Force aircraft and released on Tuesday show the size of the monstrous iceberg, covering 4,200 square kilometers, the surface of which is decorated with tunnels, cracks and cracks. There are some small chunks of ice swimming nearby.
A group of chinstrap penguins walk on an iceberg that swims near the Lemaire Channel in Antarctica [Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]”The sheer size of the A68a iceberg means that it is impossible to capture all of it in a single shot,” British officials said in a statement.
Scientists fear that if the iceberg hits the island, it could destroy marine life on the ocean floor. Should it settle on the island’s flank, it could deter penguins and seals from their normal feeding routes to feed their young.
A68a could also act as a barrier to government vessels conducting fisheries patrols and surveillance in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British officials said.