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Giant Icebergs Are Slowing Climate Change, Research Reveals

Giant melting icebergs may be a symbol of climate change but new research has revealed that the plumes of nutrient-rich waters they leave in their wake lead to millions of tonnes of carbon being trapped each year.

Researchers examined 175 satellite photos of giant icebergs in the Southern Ocean which surrounds Antarctica and discovered green plumes stretching up to 1,000km behind them. The greener colour of the plumes is due to blooms of phytoplankton, which thrive on the iron and other nutrients shed by the icebergs.

When these tiny algae - or the many creatures that eat them - die, they fall to the bottom of the ocean. This takes the carbon dioxide they have absorbed from the ocean surface and buries it deep below, thereby curbing the CO2 in the atmosphere and the global warming it causes.

Loïc Lagarde


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