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An increasing number of icebergs float past the Canadian east coast, and that’s not good news…

TRANSLATED BY CORALIE FRACHISSE AND NIKI SO

Even if the sight of icebergs floating along the Canadian east coast during this time of the year is one of the most beautiful views, it is very worrying as the number of icebergs is constantly increasing. For scientists, global warming has something to do with it.

Article in partnership with SciencePost.

The floating of icebergs along the Canadian east coast is an annual sight well-known by Canadians. But this week (Easter 2017), a giant iceberg washed up on the Ferryland shore, in Terre Neuve, leading to worldwide media coverage.

The number of icebergs found along the Canadian coastline has been constantly increasing over the past few years, with more than 450 recorded since last January. In 2016, 687 were seen in total. For scientists, this is a direct consequence of global warming, a phenomenon which will add to the problem in the years to come.

“An unprecedented period of the flow of icebergs”

Motherboard magazine interviewed Eric Rignot, a professor at the University of California, who studies icecaps in Greenland. He points his finger at global warming for the increase of icebergs in this region. “Because of global warming, icebergs discharge more ice into the ocean, increasing the number of icebergs flowing out of Greenland. But icebergs are also smaller as they break up more easily in a warmer climate”, he explains.

A study published in 2014 by researchers from the University of Sheffield explained that calving (the production of icebergs which occurs when masses of ice detach themselves from a glacier) reached its highest level in history since the 90’s and that it has been occurring at higher and higher latitudes. “The recent past represents an unprecedented period in terms of iceberg flow originating from icecaps in Greenland, which corresponds to the rapid climate changes Greenland is currently facing”. The warming of Arctic waters means that icebergs are melting earlier and earlier and are consequently smaller, summing up man’s negative impact on the environment.

Banner picture : credits iStock.

Article in partnership with SciencePost.

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