Apr 18, 2019 | Updated: 09:25 AM EDT

Iceberg History May Explain Climate Change

Mar 30, 2019 08:38 AM EDT

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(Photo : https://pixabay.com/photos/iceberg-water-sea-mirroring-nature-471549/)

ANTARCTIC -- The goal is to always seek the truth to better understand what is causing significant changes in the environment. Although this may seem like something it's impossible to do, a group of international scientists is set to do exactly what was never thought of.

The researchers are looking at positioning themselves into the alley of Icebergs at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and start drilling into the sea floor. One could imagine the blocks of ice that will come by as they move with this project.

Researchers are hopeful that the sediments of snow could unfold the history of how the White Continent came to be. Their aim is to better understand how the ice sheets that are kilometers-thick would react to what they project as the "warmer world."

The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) launched Expedition 382 in Chile on Monday. Aboard the drillship called the Joides Resolution (JR), the team aims at recognizing possible seafloor locations right in the middle of what scientists call the "Iceberg Alley."

The scientists are in search of the "debris" that may have been dropped and rafted as the icebergs move towards the Southern part of the Atlantic. The detritus of dirt, dust, and rock were originally part of the continent but was later scrapped off by the ice when it was still part of a larger glacier. It left it floating in the oceans while a huge chunk of ice started becoming an iceberg.

Through the modern equipment in geochemistry, it has become possible for such debris to become a source of important data. The machines can now identify when such material was produced and where it was specifically located before it became just debris.

What scientists are hopeful about is the fact that new technology will allow them to only get to the alley of icebergs and collect a huge amount of information about the past behavior of the Antarctic.

What truly happens to every iceberg is this: the bergs are bumped anticlockwise as directed by nearshore currents. However, when they reach the peak of the peninsula, they encounter a huge flow of water that will lead them to the clockwise direction. This big flow of water is known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. From there, the bergs are entrained to move to the north.

This is where scientists will position themselves. They will wait for the icebergs to pass by them. They will collect all the materials dropped by these historical icebergs as they slowly drift into the Atlantic.

"The interest is to know more about the interval of the Late Pliocene Warm Period (covering about 3-4 million years ago) The information will help us perceive what could happen to the East Antarctic during a warmer climate," said Prof. Maureen Raymo, lead investigator from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Columbia University in the US.

The sediments they collect will be able to reveal a lot of how the icebergs react to changing weather condition. This study could help scientists make recommendations as to how people should be preparing when climate change worsens.

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