A fleet of more than 100 stray icebergs is approaching New Zealand.
This is the second time in 78 years that such massive ice formations have been spotted so far north of Antarctica according to CNN. The previous occurence was just in 2006. Some of these icebergs are huge, approaching half a kilometer in width.
Clearly a threat to shipping in the area, these icebergs will likely further fuel the global warming debate.
The odd thing is that… they may have been caused by abnormally cold weather:
CNN:But a half-kilometer wide iceberg visible from New Zealand’s coast would represent a very rare occurrence. “An iceberg that size this far north is pretty significant,” Philip Duncan, Head Weather Analyst of the New Zealand-based Weather Watch centre told CNN.
The question now is what caused the huge fresh water icebergs to break off from an Antarctic Ice shelf and what has allowed them to travel so far north.
“A lot of people are saying it was due to a very cold snap a few years ago in Antarctica that caused more ice than usual and the outer regions of that ice snap off each summer,” said Duncan.
“It’s too hard to say whether it’s global warming. We’re really looking at an isolated incident. These things move very slowly and they take a long time to circle around the Antarctic. It takes a certain current and wind direction to bring them up to New Zealand.
“It may be we’ve just seen a particular weather pattern repeat itself over the past few years, which means we’ve seen icebergs [off the New Zealand coast] twice, or it may be something bigger. But I wouldn’t put it down to global warming just yet,” said Duncan.