Melting Icebergs Surprisingly Countering Climate Change By Enhancing Fertilization Of Southern Ocean Marine Productivity

For many years, the green community has pushed the issue of climate change and how it would affect humanity today as well as future generations. Such an issue has been thoroughly discussed and debated multiple times, but it received its biggest push to date back in 2006 when Al Gore hosted a documentary on it titled An Inconvenient Truth.

Since the aforementioned took place, climate change has been in the center of numerous heated debates between those who want to do something about it and those who are skeptical. Despite the fact, the climate change argument is more about humanity’s self-preservation more so than anything else, it was the proprietor, the spark that caused both climate change studies and green technology manufacturing to boom. An example of the latter can be seen worldwide, especially with numerous solar farms located everywhere from California to abandoned Japanese golf courses.

As for the former, one major example climate change researchers utilize to prove their theory is the melting giant icebergs, especially those in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. According to them, the melting giant icebergs are a sign that the world’s overall temperature is going up. Ironically, though, researchers are finding a surprising reason why the melting giant icebergs are countering climate change: they are enhancing the fertilization of marine productivity in the Southern Ocean.

Global Warming
The findings on how melting icebergs are combating climate change were originally announced back in January. According to a study featured by Nature Geoscience, a rare iceberg, the size of the borough Manhattan in New York City, broke off of Antarctica and released a vast trail of nutrients and minerals that helped fertilize tiny ocean plant-like organisms such as algae. As a result, more algae is produced which in turn takes in more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. This effect is great in combating climate change because excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been a major cause of the planet’s greenhouse effect.

Apparently, studies have found that ocean blooms in the wake of giant icebergs broken off of Antarctica absorbed between 10 to 40 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. To further understand how much carbon dioxide that is, it is the equivalent of how much carbon dioxide countries like Sweden and New Zealand produce annually.

It was also discovered that some of the melting icebergs are expanding past 10 nautical miles from Antarctica. Before, they were only found to go up to 10 nautical miles, making the melting iceberg’s efforts in combating Climate Change minute. Professor Grant Bigg of the University of Sheffield made a statement on the discovery when he published the researchers’ findings.

“We were very surprised to find that the impact can extend up to 1,000 kilometers.”

The discovery was a monumental step for the green community and it was attained through both motivation and dedication. According to Inhabitat, one of the authors of the study observed satellite images of Antarctic icebergs for a full decade, starting in 2003 and ending in 2013.

Still, the green community will have to thank the melting icebergs in limiting the effects of climate change. Over the course of the study, it was found that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions have increased by two percent. If it weren’t for the melting icebergs, that number would actually be 2.1 to 2.2 percent instead. In summary, it is amazing to see how the world itself responds to mitigate destructive patterns made by humanity. Still, we shouldn’t wholly depend on Mother Nature to fix problems we have caused.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]