Melting icebergs could provide an answer

Here’s an interesting thought on global warming from an American ecological consultant.

Jennifer Berry, an ecological consultant from San Francisco, writes: “Icebergs are breaking from Antarctica at an ever increasing rate, and every day there are new images and startling revelations about the loss of habitat for our South Pole flora and fauna. But what happens to the ice when it breaks away and floats to the ocean?

“Scientists from the Monterey Bay Research Center set out to find out what effect these frozen travellers have on the waters they occupy. Anecdotal reports suggested an increase in seabird activity around these icebergs, but no one knew just why. It turns out that these melting ice masses are carrying organic and mineral debris stored from millennia, and releasing them into the cold waters off South America. These ocean waters are normally low in essential nutrients, like iron. As the icebergs melt, they act as a timed release fertilizer, increasing ocean life around them, such as algae. Organisms that take particular delight in the new food source are krill, the tiny shrimp like creatures that occupy the bottom of the food chain for marine mammals, even providing a direct source for many whales. When an iceberg breaks off and drifts, it creates a new habitat for opportunists, and increases biodiversity for a distance of up to 2 1/2 miles from the edge of the drift.?Not only is the afterlife of an iceberg spectacular, but this new life in turn is able to absorb enormous amounts of the CO2 that created the melting in the first place, in a sort of feedback loop. Is this the silver lining here? We’ll have to find out.”