Fragments of the B-15 iceberg, one of the largest ever calved from the Ross ice shelf. (Credit: MODIS/Terra/NASA)
Despite the negative implications of melting icebergs, some scientists believe that their loss may actually be a good thing for climate change. But how is that possible?
According to scientists at the University of Sheffield, the loss of glaciers appears to up the biological productivity of the ocean water that trails them. These plumes of water are rich in nutrients, helping to feed phytoplankton that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as they feed on the nutrients.
From that point, the blooming phytoplankton masses eventually die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, sequestering carbon that would’ve otherwise been left in the air. Researchers from the university note that this cycle may become more important in years to come, given the expectation that more icebergs are expected to break off and melt in the ocean.
Top image: Fragments of the B-15 iceberg, one of the largest ever calved from the Ross ice shelf. (Credit: MODIS/Terra/NASA)