http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100226/ap_ ... a_icebergs2 huge icebergs let loose off Antarctica's coast
By OWEN PYE, Associated Press Writer Owen Pye, Associated Press Writer
Fri Feb 26, 12:17 pm ET
SYDNEY – A massive iceberg struck Antarctica, dislodging another giant block of ice from a glacier, Australian and French scientists said Friday.
The two icebergs are drifting together about 62 to 93 miles (100 to 150 kilometers) off eastern Antarctica following the collision on Feb. 12 or 13, said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young.
"It gave it a pretty big nudge," Young said of the 60-mile (97-kilometer) -long iceberg, about the size of Luxembourg, that collided with the giant floating Mertz Glacier and shaved off a new iceberg. "They are now floating right next to each other."
The new iceberg is 48 miles (78 kilometers) long and about 24 miles (39 kilometers) wide and holds roughly the equivalent of a fifth of the world's annual total water usage, Young told The Associated Press.
The iceberg that hit the Mertz Glacier is called B9B and had broken free from another part of Antarctica in 1987. ...
The dislodging occurred because of the iceberg's latest location and water that had warmed during Antarctica's summer, leaving less sea ice, Legresy said.
Some experts are concerned about the effect of the massive displacement of ice on the ice-free water next to the glacier, which is important for ocean currents, while others are less concerned.
This area of water had been kept clear because of the glacier, said Steve Rintoul, a leading climate expert. With part of the glacier gone, the area could fill with sea ice, which would disrupt the sinking ability of the dense and cold water.
This sinking water is what spills into ocean basins and feeds the global ocean currents with oxygen, Rintoul explained.
As there are only a few areas in the world where this occurs, a slowing of the process would mean less oxygen supplied into the deep currents that feed the oceans.
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