A giant iceberg the size of a little nation is drifting toward the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, raising fears it might indirectly endanger wildlife.
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said on Wednesday it’s worried that the plateau may run aground close to the island, preventing land-based marine predators from reaching food materials and returning to their offspring.
Professor Geraint Tarling, an ecologist with the BAS, stated it’s the time of year when seals and penguins are adapting to pups and girls. The space penguin and seal parents need to travel to find food is crucial.
“If they need to perform a huge detour, it means they are not likely to contact their youthful in time to stop them starving to death in the meantime,” he explained.
While satellite imagery now plots its path towards a head-to-head wreck with the islands currents can come to play and move the iceberg farther north.
“Whether it causes and has trapped or stuck beyond the island remains in the balance,” Dr. Peter Fretwell, a BAS remote-sensing and mapping expert stated.
“The currents must take it on which seems like a peculiar loop across the south end of South Georgia, before spinning it along the edge of the continental shelf and back to the shore. Nonetheless, it’s quite tricky to say exactly what’s going to happen.”
Though it will pose a threat to wildlife, the iceberg does bring with it many advantages if it remains in open water.
“It carries huge amounts of dust which fertilize the sea plankton from the water which cascades the food chain,” Tarling said. “This plankton also brings in carbon in the air, partly offsetting human CO2 emissions”