Scientists tracking iceberg A23 heading for the South Atlantic

Scientists tracking iceberg A23 heading for the South Atlantic
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27 November 2023
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The A23 iceberg heading towards the South Atlantic is a cause of concern for scientists, as it could create problems for the millions of seals, penguins, and other sea birds that breed on South Georgia Island.

The ice mass separated from the Antarctic coast in 1986, measures 4,000 square kilometers.

The British Antarctic Survey Center says that it had been on land since 1986, but it would eventually shrink in size, lose its grip, and begin to move, and did so for the first time in 2020.

This process sped up in recent months, driven by winds and tides, and it now transits the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Like most icebergs in the Weddell sector, the BBC noted, A23 will almost certainly be ejected into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which will dump it into the South Atlantic in a path known as iceberg alley.

Its sheer volume could disrupt the animals’ normal feeding routes, preventing them from adequately breeding their babies, but it would have the benefit that as it loses mass it releases mineral dust which is a nutrient for organisms that form the basis of the oceans’ food chains.

 

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