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Havoc to the marine ecosystem of the small island San Pedro: those would be the effects of a close collision of the iceberg A-68A with that body of land, which takes for granted the British Antarctic Survey or British Antarctic Survey (BAS, for its acronym in English ) – a UK national institution dedicated to Antarctica research. This island is also known as the island of South Georgia, where the ice mass is heading.
The iceberg separated from the Larsen C ice shelf of Antarctica in 2017, now measures 140 kilometers and has an area of 3,900 square kilometers, the portal collects 20 minutes.
According to the publication of the Spanish media, an investigative mission will be launched next month to determine the impact on the coastal environment of South Georgia, where it will end up trapped. There is currently a distance of 75 kilometers between the ice monster and the island.
“Recent images captured from the air by the Royal Air Force (RAF) show that the iceberg is breaking up. The team will investigate the impact of fresh water from melting ice on a region of the ocean that is home to colonies of penguins, seals and whales. These waters are also home to some of the most sustainably managed fisheries in the world, “it adds.
Underwater robotic gliders will be deployed from the NOC RRS James Cook research ship, it is detailed. The departure will be made from the Falkland Islands. “They will spend almost four months collecting measurements of salinity, temperature and chlorophyll from seawater on opposite sides of the iceberg.”
Another indicator that will be taken into account will be the amount of plankton in the water and the findings will be compared with long-term oceanographic and wildlife studies in South Georgia and nearby Bird Island.
The waters surrounding South Georgia are home to a biological wealth, even greater than those of the Galapagos: it is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. “The iceberg, if it lands near the island, represents a risk for penguins and seals during the breeding season, ” it warns.
Professor Geraint Tarling, an ecologist with the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement that “the iceberg will cause devastation to the seabed by devastating communities of sponges, brittle stars, worms and sea urchins on the seabed, thus reducing the biodiversity “.
“These communities help store large amounts of carbon in their body tissues and surrounding sediments. The destruction by the iceberg will release this stored carbon back into the water and potentially into the atmosphere, which would be an additional negative impact,” he explained. .
However, the passage of the great mass of ice also generates benefits. The expert has also pointed out that “not all impacts along their path are negative. For example, when travelling through the open ocean, icebergs spill huge amounts of mineral dust that will fertilize the oceanic plankton that surrounds them, and this It will benefit them and make them cascade up the food chain. “
The world’s largest iceberg, A68a, is getting ever closer to the island of South Georgia. As of the weekend, it was ~130 miles off the coast (@npr: https://t.co/cM8VgZY5x8). This @nasa Worldview image shows the iceberg moving toward South Georgia on 12/9. https://t.co/cD8s0vhLAP pic.twitter.com/g1syx7cCCl
— NSIDC DAAC (@NSIDCDAAC) December 9, 2020
Source: El Universo