Iceberg The Size Of Luxembourg Threatens Ocean Currents

A massive iceberg has broken off Antarctica and gotten stuck in a position that could cause global ocean currents to change dramatically. That would affect everything from shipping lanes to animal migration.

The iceberg broke off from the Mertz Glacier last month, and has since lodged in a position where it is blocking heavy, ultracold water from circulating. Normally this denser water moves out from the glacier-strewn antarctic into the ocean, driving the motion of the currents familiar to humans and migrating sea creatures for millennia.

According to BBC News:

Dr Neal Young, a glaciologist at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research Centre in Tasmania, told the BBC that any disruption to the production of the super cold water - known as bottom water - in the region would affect ocean currents, and consequently weather patterns, for years to come.

"This area accounts for about 25% of the production of bottom water in Antarctica, and therefore it will reduce the overturning circulation rate," he said.

"You won't see it immediately, but it has downstream effects. And it will also have implications for penguins and other wildlife in the region that normally use this area for feeding."

The mega-iceberg is currently south of Australia.

So if we nuke this berg, will we halt the disruption of the ocean currents? Quick - somebody write a treatment for The Core II: Heavy Water.

Image via TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images