Enormous Antarctic Iceberg a Possible Threat to Shipping

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Pine Island Iceberg: Image credit NASA

An Iceberg, the size of Manhattan in area, was derived from the Pine Island Glacier, and is currently moving through the Southern Ocean. To keep track of its movements and melting  Professor Grant Bigg of UK's University of Sheffield has been awarded a £50,000 grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for the 6 month project.

The research collected by tracking its movement, and modelling its trajectory and melting, through the ocean will be used by the shipping industry and associated agencies currently using the Southern Ocean in providing more accurate ice warnings.

Each of the last three years has seen a giant iceberg calve, from either Greenland or Antarctica. Being able to track and forecast the tracks of these huge blocks of ice will be a major benefit to the shipping industry, particularly as more ships begin to use polar waters, as Arctic sea-ice melts. This ability is what we aim to develop." Professor Grant Bigg.

The professor is a leading researcher in Icebergs and their role in the ocean's freshwater flux and the interactions between climate change and society. He is working with Dr. Bob Marsh, an ocean modeller at the University of Southampton, on this project.

The NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Their work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator.

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