Is it time to start thinking about replacing disappearing icebergs? A massive iceberg that recently split off from Antarctica’s Mertz Glacier might be a driver of future climate change. The Luxembourg-size iceberg (965 square miles) broke off from the larger glacier, which is a massive floating ice tongue that drains ice from the larger East Antarctic ice sheet.
While scientists can’t say for sure that the event is linked to climate change, they believe that it could eventually affect ocean circulation. The area where the ice slab floats contains dense and salty water, and if the ice tongue disappears, it could have a domino effect–open water areas will be reduced, slowing down salinity input in the ocean. And that could slow down the amount of salty water that floats to the bottom of the ocean. It may not sound like a big deal, but the change could shift the way heat (and Chinese ships, apparently) moves around the globe.
There isn’t much we can do to prevent the tongue from disappearing–or is there? BLDGBLOG (along with nine other blogs) coincidentally explored the possibility this week of subjecting glaciers to architectural redesign. It’s a daunting process, but glaciers can be grown by humans–and in fact, they have been in the past. Geoengineering is a dangerous thing to play with, of course, but at the very least artificial glaciers have the potential to make some creative cocktail drinks.