A massive iceberg twice the size of Manhattan is headed for Australia's southwestern coast, threatening shipping lanes in the Pacific.
The "superberg," called B17B, is roughly 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia and headed for warmer waters, where it will likely break up into many small pieces.
The 'berg broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in 2000, and has been floating in the cold waters of the Pacific until recently, when ocean currents and weather conditions nudged it north. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology issued a shipping alert Friday after the iceberg was seen off the country's southwestern coast.
Several other icebergs have been spotted near New Zealand in recent weeks, but none was as big as B17B, which 87 square miles in area -- is about double the size of Sydney Harbor.
Australian media quoted a glaciologist who said if the iceberg crashed into the continental shelf, it would cause a magnitude three to four earthquake. But it will probably disintegrate into a flotilla of smaller icebergs before that can happen.
The glacial "calving" that causes icebergs is a natural process; ice sheets grow as snow falls upon them and creates more ice, which flows to the edges. Eventually, some pieces break off. But B17B is a once-in-a-century iceberg. Glaciologist Neal Young told the Telegraph that icebergs of its size have probably not been seen since 19th-century clipper ships traveled between Britain and Australia.
But, he adds, superbergs may become more common as sea temperatures rise because of global warming.
Grab your glass and get FREE ICE!
Rebecca, What a well written, thought provocing article. I really aprreciate the info. Great article, unlike the one two stories down from this one that was haphazardly put together and subsequently has it's comments blocked.
If television and movies have taught me anything, Australia is probably going to sink! :-(
I got all the way to the last sentence before I ran into the global warming stuff. Wow! You almost wrote an entire article without mentioning it. It's like cream in coffee; you just add the global warming habitually without thinking about whether it's necessary. Sort of a verbal tic: "I'm going to the bathroom, honey. Oh, and the globe is warming."
Possibly glaciologist Neal Young (any relation to the singer?) has trouble with logical thinking, but if a supersize iceberg hasn't been seen since the 19th century, wouldn't that be an indication--if you follow his reasoning that warming will produce more superbergs--that it was warmer in the 1800's when they were seen more often? Wouldn't that suggest that the globe has cooled? I dunno. Just thinking out loud.
Not that it was warmer then (unless it was), but his reasoning is quirky. And if his logic is so shaky, why not global warming causing smaller and fewer icebergs? What's wrong with that idea? Maybe what it boils down to is neither Neal Young, nor you nor I can predict what kinds of icebergs are coming our way. But it's fun to guess and wrap it in the aura of science.
I wonder if the australians will be able to somehow obtain fresh water from this large berg ? It seems a waste to let it melt into the ocean.
I just wanted to concur with laurenra7 - whose comments were actually more enlightened than the article. Apparently, you just can't write an article without dropping some unsubstantiated global warming comment, can you? As I recall there hasn't been any global warming since 1998 - "a travesty" so say the emails from the GW hoaxters. If we could just limit the articles to facts and not lamestream speculation - unless it is specified as such, it would be so much more palatable. I say that you and Neal stick to writing/singing songs......
trueperspective: What's wrong with what was said in the Boeing article?
Actually, the "... no global warming since 1998 ... " is based on old data and was "fun with stats" anyway.
Sinusoidal variance across a mean occurs in all natural systems.
But I wouldn't let that bother you.
The global warming frenzy has officially warped my way of thinking. When reading this article I was specifically looking for "global warming." When I couldn't find it at first(it was near the end of the article) I began to panic and re-read the article. You can't have an article dealing with glaciers or ice without including global warming.... even though icebergs are a natural occurrence as the article even points that out (The glacial "calving" that causes icebergs is a natural process; ice sheets grow as snow falls upon them and creates more ice, which flows to the edges.)... but still.... much to my disappointment... the author must mention global warming.
Lastly, the article reads that it will likely break up into many small pieces. It also states that if that does not happen(which it likely will) Australia will have a magnitude three to four earthquake. It seems like we could do something to make sure that the iceberg in fact does break into small pieces... just a suggestion...
I bet if you pushed one of these bad boys in the middle of a hurricane it would work great to kill it.
So lauren, BioTox...you guys are part of the group that thinks global warming occurs on a scale of decades, huh? Okay, then.
What's with these "scientists"? Always telling people what they think is or isn't true, how the world does or doesn't work.... Just shut up and build weapons, eggheads! Like some sort of airborne superlaser to nuke the giant icebergs that are appearing for no apparent reason.
Only one mention of Global Warming ? C'mon !
This story could've been sooo the next poster child of global warming.
This is just one way it could've been written...
Global warming has caused a massive iceberg twice the size of Manhattan to break from Antarctica and now on a collision course for Australia's southwestern coast, threatening shipping lanes, penguins and possibly polar bears too.
The "superberg" or "globalwarmingsuperberg" called B17B, is roughly 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia and headed for even warmer waters, climatologists say it will likely break up into many small pieces before being evaporated into a giant global warming induced supercloud.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia using computer models have speculated that a "supercloud" or "globalwarmingsupercloud" of this magnitude could be capable of triggering a runaway greenhouse effect by the year 2015. The scientists, who wish to remain anonymous, have been awarded $15 Million to improve their computer model to where it can predict climate without the input of any real data.
In an emergency press conference today, Nick Berg, vice chancellor of the oceanic global warming observatory committee said "Global Warming is a threat we've got to take more seriously, and this is just more proof of that". When questioned about the recent allegations of pseudoscience and bribery, Mr. Berg responded "you're either with us, or against us". Outside the press conference, vendors had set up store, T-shirts depicted a polar bear atop a tiny piece of ice, the caption read "Global warming science; +1°C = -1 Species".
Al Gore and Hillary Clinton will helicopter onto the globalwarmingsuperberg on Thursday, where they plan to film for an upcoming documentary entitled "God help us all".
Update : Newly uncovered records show that the globalwarmingsuperberg has been growing in size since it was first sighted in 2000. Climatologists have responded by calling it "an expected consequence of climate change".