Friday, March 28, 2008

Iceberg C19A and Other Icy News

These days we're hearing about weather-related news not just about our own local areas, but about the latest happenings on iceberg C19A and the Ross Ice Shelf and the Wilkins Ice Shelf, all down near Antarctica.

It seems climate change is putting icebergs and such in the news as if they were part of our daily lives. Here's a quick recap: the iceberg known as C19 split off from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2002, and later began moving. It split in two in 2003, becoming two icebergs: C19A and (you guessed it) C19B. C19A supposedly has a surface area of about 4,000 square kilometers, a pretty big ice cube any way you slice it.

After a period of time in which is was pretty much stationary, C19A in 2005 apparently started drifting to the north. Then, earlier this week, we heard that a large chunk of the Wilkins Ice Shelf disintegrated. When they say "large," they mean "seven times the size of Manhattan."

Personally, it's hard to imagine chunks of ice that big falling off and moving around. You can find out much more than I can possibly explain (or even understand) about these events at the Web site of the British Antarctic Survey.

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