Just before Valentine’s Day, a 2,550 square-kilometer hunk of glacier separated from the Mertz Glacier Tongue, a peninsula of floating ice off of East Antarctica.
Current research indicates this mammoth hunk of ice will negatively alter weather patterns, animal migrations, and potentially aquatic life—though the effects aren’t likely to be felt for a few decades.
So how the hell does all that happen? This glacier could block the production of cold, salty water, which could lead to less temperate winters in the North Atlantic, could negatively effect the local biospheres. Because the glacier is likely to stay in place rather than float northwards and melt, which means it could stop the production of the cold salty water which then sinks to the bottom of the ocean, driving a convection current of water around the globe. This would also lead to less oxygen in the oceans, which would negatively impact biospheres.
In keeping with the grand tradition of describing the size of objects in units that no-one can really visualize, the glacier is described as being as big as Luxembourg. Which is grand and all, but I really have no concept of how big Luxembourg is. Big, but not that big, I think. Just imagine the image below, just chilly.
[via Times Online]