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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Farewell B-15A

From The Age :

Andrew Darby, Hobart
October 4, 2006

The break-up of a giant Antarctic iceberg has been linked to an Alaskan storm in a finding that raises new concern over climate change's effect on floating ice.

On a calm day in October last year, the world's largest free-floating iceberg, known as B15A, split into giant shards off Cape Adare at the entrance to the Ross Sea.

What was an 11,655-square-kilometre iceberg in 2000 was reduced to a tenth of its size.......Alaska storm hits Antarctic iceberg

The birth of B-15, and it's off spring, B-15A and B-15B were one of the first things I really began to follow on the internet. I stumbled across this picture back in 2000 ....... And I say stumbled. Remember, in 2000 you couldn't "google" B-15. Oh, there were search engines, but entering B-15 in their search boxes would've given you vitamins, not chunks of ice the size of Delaware.

I kept an eye on B-15A for the last 6 years. Kinda like a nephew growing up in another town. Now it's gone, broken into smaller pieces ....... Smaller pieces, some of them are the size of the county I'm sitting in.

But the death of B-15A points to something else I've been following that first grew out of my interest in this far of chunk of ice. The break-up of this berg may be another one of Dr. Hasen's "Monsters Behind the Door" .....
This from the article on the B-15A :

"One of the things we're debating in the world right now is whether global warming might increase the storminess in the oceans," he said.

"The question we then pose is: could global storminess have an influence on the Antarctic ice sheet that we had never thought of?"

B15A broke off the 520,000-square-kilometre Ross Ice Shelf. An ice shelf's melting does not alter the water level, but it holds back much of the Antarctic ice cap, which would raise the sea level if it melted.

Already the spectacular break-up of the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen B ice shelf, which featured in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, has unleashed onshore glaciers behind it, which are surging down to the sea eight times faster than before.