Friday, June 22, 2007
Icebergs: Hotspots of Ocean Life (Joy)
I hope everyone's summer is going swell. I read this article and thought it was pretty interesting, because with global warming, in general the articles spell a future of doom for our planet. The article talks about how icebergs breaking off of ice shelves (due to a warming earth) are becoming hotspots of ocean life. The icebergs hold terrestrial material that they release as they float out to sea and melt. The icebergs have a "halo" of increased numbers of plankton, krill, and seabirds for up to a radius of 5 miles. An important consequence of this increased biological activity is that the icebergs may act as carbon sinks, pulling excess carbon down into the deep sea, helping stem global warming. I think it's interesting how our earth reacts to stresses we put on it, and that things don't always have the same consequences as we might predict. It's a somewhat encouraging piece of news--that the earth is still able to compensate for the strains we put on it, in unpredictable ways. It's also a reminder that we can't ever really exactly predict the effect our actions are going to have on the environment. Not that global warming doesn't or won't have consequences, but it reminds me to take it with a grain of salt when someone says that we're all going to be underwater in 20 years.