Massive Icebergs off New Zealand

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Massive Icebergs off New Zealand

Over the last week we have for the first time in living memory seen icebergs floating off the bottom of the South Island. These are huge bergs like floating islands. Planes and helicopters have been taking visitors out to see them.

Companies and ad people are trying to cash in on a rare natural phenomenon that has turned the ocean off the Otago coast into a new tourist attraction.

Countless corporates have asked helicopter pilots to help turn the rare iceberg visitors into gimmicks for their advertising campaigns.

Helicopters Otago managing director Graeme Gale yesterday said some companies had asked him to help them do "all sorts of things" with a flotilla that is as unpredictable as it is icy.

"But you can see why they'd want to be part of this it's just spectacular, and it's spectacular no matter how many times I see it," Mr Gale said.

His Taieri Airfield-based business has been busy flying tourists from all over New Zealand and Australia over the icebergs since they were first spotted off the Otago coast last week.

Yesterday there was new traffic to a 1km-long iceberg some thought might be part of the largest iceberg in an armada first spotted about 160km south of Invercargill almost a fortnight ago.

By last night there were reports of another 100-or-so icebergs, some reportedly up to 1km long, drifting off the Otago coast.

Southern Lakes Helicopters pilot-owner Richard "Hannibal" Hayes flew a film crew about 110km south of Dunedin, about parallel with Stewart Island, to see the giant iceberg.He has flown countless missions over the Southern Ocean but said he had never seen an iceberg further north than the sea off Antarctica.

"They're just the most incredible things you'll see out there. When you're out there you can see why so many people are interested."

"The warm seas, the waves, the wind, it's all breaking these things up right before your eyes. And when a piece of iceberg goes, you wouldn't want to be near it."


NZ-icebergs.jpg - 28.3kb
By netchicken: posted on 22-11-2006
A tourist helicopter sits Thursday on the far left side of a large iceberg, which was visible from the New Zealand coast and drifting about 60 miles offshore.
By netchicken: posted on 22-11-2006

Australians have planted the flag on one iceberg and claimed it for their own!

Video here

iceberg-flag.jpg - 10.79kb
By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

News Items about the New Zealand Icebergs

By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

Another short news article on New Zealand Icebergs

By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

Video of the 1km long berg on the news

By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

Those are absolutely beautiful. I think NC needs to go on one of those helicopters and get us a first hand report.:dbguy
By Venus: posted on 23-11-2006

Yeah I agree :)

What I find amazing is that there don't seem to be many pics of the icebergs on the net, yet 100's of people have been out there, and only costs about US$200 for a trip.

However its more south of where I live unfortunatly.
By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

Are they claiming global warming?
By Venus: posted on 28-11-2006

Nope, not really :)

A couple of years ago a huge iceshelf broke off antarctica (called romatically B-22 or something).

I think its this one

... Quote:
Recent Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center revealed that the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent.

The shattered ice formed a plume of thousands of icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea. A total of about 3,250 km2 of shelf area disintegrated in a 35-day period beginning on 31 January 2002. Over the last five years, the shelf has lost a total of 5,700 km2, and is now about 40 percent the size of its previous minimum stable extent.

Ice shelves are thick plates of ice, fed by glaciers, that float on the ocean around much of Antarctica. The Larsen B shelf was about 220 m thick.

Based on studies of ice flow and sediment thickness beneath the ice shelf, scientists believe that it existed for at least 400 years prior to this event, and likely existed since the end of the last major glaciation 12,000 years ago

However they did refer to this...

... Quote:
This is the largest single event in a series of retreats by ice shelves in the Peninsula over the last 30 years. The retreats are attributed to a strong climate warming in the region.

The rate of warming is approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade, and the trend has been present since at least the late 1940s.

Overall in the Peninsula, extent of seven ice shelves has declined by a total of about 13,500 km2 since 1974. This value excludes areas that would be expected to calve under stable conditions.

Here is another interesting article on the fate of B-22

It floated around antarctica clockwise, like a bug floating around a plug hole when you pull the plug.

Along the way it broke up into pieces, and those pieces have floated out of the spiralling current and headed north towards us.

So its a natural event rather than a portent for the future.

However in a another article. record snow falls have just happened in antartica...

... Quote:
An Antarctic hut used by Captain Robert Falcon Scott is being crushed under record snowdrifts, prompting a marathon digging effort by a New Zealand-led team.

Four conservators with the Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT) spent a week shovelling 85 tonnes of snow from around Cape Evans hut in a bid to prevent more damage being caused by snowdrifts one third bigger than it has faced in its 95-year history.

A quirk of global warming is that more snow is predicted to fall in Antarctica as temperatures rise, putting more strain on a fragile hut located in one of the planet's harshest environments.

from here
By netchicken: posted on 28-11-2006

Here's a video of someone who has just been out there to see the icebergs. They are still floating around off New Zealand, and still very big!

By netchicken: posted on 11-12-2006

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