Giant iceberg could affect ocean circulation, weather

An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, scientists said on Friday, in an event that could affect ocean circulation patterns.

The 2,500 sq km iceberg broke off earlier this month from the Mertz Glacier’s 160 km floating tongue of ice that sticks out into the Southern Ocean…

“The calving itself hasn’t been directly linked to climate change but it is related to the natural processes occurring on the ice sheet,” said Rob Massom, a senior scientist…at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center…

Massom said the shearing off of the ice tongue and the presence of the Mertz and B-9B icebergs could affect global ocean circulation.

The area is an important zone for the creation of dense, salty water that is a key driver of global ocean circulation. This is produced in part through the rapid production of sea ice that is continually blown to the west.

“Removal of this tongue of floating ice would reduce the size of that area of open water, which would slow down the rate of salinity input into the ocean and it could slow down this rate of Antarctic bottom water formation,” he said.

He said there was a risk both icebergs would become grounded on banks or shoals in the area, disrupting the creation of the dense, salty water and the amount that sinks to the bottom of the ocean, he said.

Oceans act like a giant flywheel for the planet’s climate by shifting heat around the globe via myriad currents above and below the surface.

There’s not much hope for either climate deniers or the average Western Whoopee Weather Whiner to make sense of this. I’ve given up even on explaining something as relevant – and simple – as El Niño to bloggers/commenters/dolts who think that a large snowstorm on the eastern coast of a nation accounting for 1.5% of the Earth’s surface somehow means there is no global warming.

The rest of you – fortunately – have enough interest in science and natural processes to find this interesting on its own. I thank all six of you.

17 thoughts on “Giant iceberg could affect ocean circulation, weather

  1. jonolan says:

    Given that there’s a lot of both sub-glacier and undersea volcanic / geothermal activity in that general area of Antartica, I wouldn’t be too quick to point this out as evidence in favor of Global Warming – especially since mean temperatures for non-geothermally active areas of Antarctica having been dropping.

    Much like you though, I’ve largely given up on trying to explain something as relevant – simple – as correlation v. causation and multiple vector stimuli to bloggers/commenters/dolts who think that every climatic and/or weather phenomenon is proof of AGW. 😉

    • moss says:

      Always a delight to see a comment from someone dedicated to straw man arguments.

      Since no one suggested this had anything to do with global warming. Nor did the article.

      Global warming came up in Eid’s comment about those who would likely misunderstand this incident – as they do much of everything else about weather and climate.

      I wandered over for a peek at JONolan’s blog – where he has 20+ Posts about environment and climate. Not one of which is predicated on scientific peer-reviewed study.

      Seems to me he is a pretty good fit for Eideard’s comment. 8)

      • jonolan says:


        My comment was in response to Eid’s part of the post and his claims about people not understanding this.

        As for my blog – it is commentary, not scientific analysis, though it links out to many science sources.

        But, think of me as you will. Climategate, COP15, and the exposure of the rampant corruption and mendacity of the IPCC leadership has already made the Warmists a non-threat. You opinion no longer particularly matters.

        If, by some chance you care, all I want is for the “scientists” to put aside their preconceptions and rerun the primary meteorological stations’ data without the false entries, tricks, and messed up “trimming” of the sites.

        It would also be nice if they’d consider listening to the scientists in a host of other, related fields who have data of their own to add to the model.

        • moss says:

          In other words, you’ve never read any of the science.

          Like Eid, I participated in a few years of discussion in the lead-up to the IPCC documents. Including all the WG1 science.

          If you read something more than ideological journalism, you’d be aware of the overwhelming majority of scientists, from paleo-climatologists on up to meteorologists who concur with the science in the IPCC studies.

          We’re fortunate enough to live in a larger community which includes a significant portion of National Laboratory scientists. Many of whom were involved in this discussion starting back in the 90’s. Of all that number – and there are about 10,000 within a half-hour drive – there were perhaps 2 or 3 who decided they weren’t convinced by the evidence offered.

          Sadly, they were so upset by finding themselves in a minority = less than 1%, they left the professional and scientific bodies they had been part of to join the nutballs and anti-science campaigners who dominate the deniers.

          “Primary meteorological stations data” my Aunt Petunia’s butt. Is that all you can muster? Crap from Watts who’s not even competent enough to acquire peer review?

          Send in a penny postcard when you’ve finished reading WG1: and offer some links to peer-reviewed science to counter that body of science.

          Which – I’d wager – you haven’t read.

          Most of my studies were in two years worth of work from the Max Planck Institute that contributed to the founding of the IPCC WG1 group. Never easy going; but, perfectly understandable and worth the time. You might try it. 😎

        • keaneo says:

          “Threats”, “warmists” – whatever the frack are you talking about? Is that what climate change deniers think this is all about. Some sort of ideological confrontation?

          The science will continue. It proceeds wholly independent from the political claptrap that consumes every flavor of teabagger – whether they be fixated on climate science, creationism, whatever flavor of the month flat-earth nonsense is the current hangup.

          You really haven’t a clue what science and scientific study is about. That’s not sad. You don’t miss what you don’t comprehend. But, understand – in the run of study that is the history of science, your lot are no more than a gnat nibbling at Galileo’s butt.

        • moss says:

          Just an addendum, since “jonolan” never got the point, someone else may wander through equally dim.

          That time I reference in discussion was time spent in determining what the evidence was leading to. I particularly value the two years of reading the info as it was published by the Max Planck Institute. After those two years, I had come to conclusions understanding and supporting society’s responsibility for climate change.

          It took that long to be convinced by study.

          Dweebs won’t study.

          • Mr. Fusion says:

            The lazy way is to embrace religion, climate change denial, and tea bagger status. No intelligent insight required.

        • Mr. Fusion says:

          But, think of me as you will. Climategate, COP15, and the exposure of the rampant corruption and mendacity of the IPCC leadership has already made the Warmists a non-threat. You opinion no longer particularly matters.

          The arrogance to unilaterally dismiss all the science on some conceived whim is extremely insulting. The deniers have yet to produce any study or refute the evidence to advance their cause.

          The invitation is out there, present some evidence that AGW is not happening.

  2. jonolan says:

    Nevermind, I’m not going to engage in a prolonged debate with professional Warmists with careers and reputations on the line. You actually can’t listen to me or anyone else and still have jobs since you’ve prostituted yourself to an ideal.

    Fortunately, I don’t have to. As I’ve said, your no longer a significant force or threat.

    Bye now.

    • keaneo says:

      Reading is still too much work, eh?

      I guess it’s easier to “prostitute” yourself to reactionary politics than study, science, a quest for knowledge.

      I know knew one of the dudes moss is referring to who dropped out because he couldn’t handle an overwhelming body of evidence that contradicted what he believed; but, couldn’t prove.

      Actually, he’s missed. He was the first paleo-climatologist I had a chance to discuss planet-energy-processes with. The dude thinks in geologic time. 🙂

      He was seriously interesting. Just unable to validate any hypotheses. Drove him bonkers he couldn’t even come up with a model to illustrate what he felt.

      • Philly Stein says:

        Within the traditional semantics of political philosophy – you’re both being complimented. At least you’re leaders not followers.

        For example, ideologues who espouse Trotsky are Trotskyists. Followers who do their political bidding are Trotskyites.

        Of curse, the terminology is almost as obsolete as the craft. At least you’re not being called “warmites”.

      • zorki says:

        According to all these hypothesis or opinions, they all seem to condone the theory of science which is fine however. It didn’t predict the most recent explosion in Chile or the one previous on Haiti.Sadly, information is all very well after the events of natural pheomenon. Not all people are bufoons who do not want science to predict what may or may not happen, because not even science has this amazing gift. Again in my opinion, like all the others registered right here

        • Mr. Fusion says:

          Actually, both earthquakes had been predicted as highly likely. The entire American cordillera is an earthquake zone, from south of Terra del Fuego to northwest of the Aleutian Islands. It has been known for a long time the Caribbean Plate is moving towards Mexico.

          I haven’t read of anything in the bibble, koran, or talmud predicting the exact time of the earthquakes mentioned either.

          As for people wanting science to predict outcomes? well in America ultra-sounds are routinely used to discover the sex of a fetus.

          • zorki says:

            Highly likely was not good enough for readiness or preparation. We are all aware we are going to die, yet have no idea when. Again, predicability is only presumptuous no matter who says it.

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