Authored by Simone Bauch
Everyone is mesmerized by the beauty of the Antarctic icebergs: different shapes, varying sizes, amazing hues of blue. We’re told that the number of icebergs we are seeing this early in the Summer is quite unusual, to the point that navigating the Gerlache Strait has been a challenge, according to our ship’s Captain. One possible explanation is that warmer temperatures mean that more huge, tabular icebergs are calving from the glaciers, and that these large icebergs may also be pushing the smaller icebergs into the Strait.
This has made it interesting for us as leaders in STEMM, holding two things to be true: we are enjoying the beautiful iceberg views, while also fretting about climate change. Along with the very low levels of sea ice we are witnessing, this is another sign of the accelerated changes in the climate here in Antarctica. As temperatures increase, glaciers crack and break and slip into the sea, where the pieces float off as icebergs. Yesterday we hiked up a hill on the Antarctic continent, right next to a glacier, and we heard the ice cracking loudly. Today during our landing on Cuverville Island we witnessed a small ice calving event in another glacier nearby. This is a clear reminder of the impact that the warmer temperatures are having and will continue to have in this amazing place.
Video: Antarctic Icebergs Credit: Noa Bruhis