Iceberg Wonders Photo Editor

Iceberg Wonders Photo Editor


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Icebergs are large pieces of freshwater ice floating in open water. Icebergs are born when they break off from glaciers or ice shelves in a process called calving. These icebergs are formed in many shapes. While big icebergs are usually easier for ships to see, smaller icebergs can hide in the ocean's waves making them harder to spot and thus much more dangerous.

If you've ever heard the phrase just the tip of the iceberg. You might be surprised to learn there's a lot of truth to it. People use the phrase to mean that what you can see is not all there is. Gravity forces these massive glaciers toward the sea. As they reach the ocean. The glaciers begin to break off into pieces and fall into the ocean creating icebergs. As the icebergs travel and begin to melt. The process starts all over again.

According to Brad Drummond, a senior ice forecaster with Environment Canada icebergs in the area show up each year. What’s unusual this season is the large number. Right now we're currently looking at over 100 icebergs through the northeast arm of the Gulf and around. These icebergs are in many places and many oceans and we can see them in many countries.

Strong winds and currents help icebergs to move ahead to the open ocean or to get stuck in the coastline or shallow waters. Where they often melt away during the summer or get stuck frozen into the sea ice during the winter season. The different colors appear due to various reasons but generally speaking, they appear because some layers of ice form in special conditions. Blue stripes are the most common and they appear when crevices are filled with water and they freeze so fast that no bubbles are formed. However, things are different from the other ones.

They’re not exactly rare but quite uncommon still. It was Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen on board a research ship that first photographed and described these glaciers from what I was able to find I’m not quite sure, however. Anyway, they’re an astonishing sight by any standards and it’s easy to understand why sailors have pictured them as humbugs. If you’re ever lucky enough to go to Antarctica keep an eye out you just might see one of these awesome wonders.

If icebergs change the physical and chemical structure we expect phytoplankton to show parallel changes. With the release of the micronutrient iron from the ice do phytoplanktons change their concentration? Do we find more large cells as expected from the relief of iron limitation? Or is the mixing of the upper 200 meters pronounced and we see less stratification in the Iceberg Alley when compared to noniceberg impacted waters. Analysis of cell number microscopic determination of species and nutrient concentration at different depths will give us answers to these questions. Unfortunately, we need to wait until we are back in our home institutions before analysis. The ship's motion precludes any detailed analysis under the microscope.

Phytoplankton concentrates on the surface where there is plenty of light. Our sampling is designed to see plant abundance and composition and to capture any vertical structure of the chemical and physical properties of surface ocean waters. Timing is everything when cruising in Antarctica and so much varies during the short season for discovery. During November and December late spring and early summer. The sun is strong on the frost-clad landscapes forcing the ice to break out of bays releasing enormous free-floating icebergs.

This is also a time when wildlife is actively feeding and breeding penguin colonies bustle with lively courtship rituals humpback minke and southern right whales arrive and fur and elephant seals give birth. This is also the perfect season for keen photographers to capture the stunning Antarctic twilight.


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