Monster Iceberg Eats Australia - see it now or wait for the movie

Ivan Potter

 If you have nothing else to think about this end of 2009, what about the “end of the world” monster ice berg (150 ft. tall) floating towards Australia. Even as you read this post, let your mind try to wrap around the thought that somewhere in the shipping lanes between Australia  and Antarctica,  a piece of ice the size of Kentucky zip code 42032 (Columbus zip code is about 60 square miles.) is seeking out unsuspecting ships to devour as a horrible testimony to global warming.
After a weekend of watching very bad End of the World movies on the SyFi Channel, I can only wonder when the movie will be made starring The Ice Berg. 

I can see the plot about how those fiends at Green Peace managed to blow off a large hunk of ice from the Antarctica ice sheets some 10 years ago. Just this fact alone would make for a good movie. However, to plan it in time for the world leaders gathering in Copenhagan for the mother of all climate conferences to save mankind from itself over global climate change would make for good popcorn sales.  

See story below from AFP.

'Monster' iceberg shedding hundreds of offshoots

SYDNEY (AFP) – An island-sized iceberg is breaking up as it drifts closer to Australia, producing hundreds of smaller slabs spread over a massive area of ocean, experts said Monday.

The 140-square-kilometre (54-square-mile) block of ice, known as B17B, was seen some 1,700 kilometres (1,054 miles) south-southwest of Australia's western coast on December 9, prompting a maritime alert for vessels in the area.

But as it has tracked further north and east the iceberg has shrunk to some 115 square kilometres -- still formidable at about twice the size of Manhattan.

"There are now many more smaller icebergs calving off B17B, measuring up to several kilometres in length, and spread over more than a thousand kilometres of ocean," said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young.

Young, who has tracked B17B using satellite images from NASA and the European Space Agency, said the iceberg was some 400 square kilometres in area and 40 metres high when it first broke off from Antarctica.

"If you didn't know about the early picture you would still say it's a monster," Young told AFP.

Young said he expected B17B to totally dissolve but was unable to predict when this would happen.

"Might be two weeks, might be several weeks. The key thing at the moment is it's getting thinner," he said.

"It's got its feet in what it thinks is warm water -- about six to eight degrees Celsius (45 F) -- we think that's freezing cold but for an iceberg that's quite warm.

"So it's thinning from the bottom and that's what's going to lead to it breaking up."

The iceberg, which calved from the eastern end of the Ross Ice Shelf nearly 10 years ago, is expected to continue tracking in a more easterly direction.

Australian authorities last week issued a shipping alert over the possible hazard from icebergs.