Iceberg Headed for Sub-Antarctic Island Could Threaten Wildlife

first_img– Advertisement – It’s unpredictable what could happen if the iceberg were to run aground near South Georgia, said M Jackson, a glaciologist who is an explorer with the National Geographic Society. Such episodes are not unheard-of but greater attention is usually given to them when they pose a threat to people and wildlife, she said.- Advertisement – An iceberg roughly the size of Delaware that is headed toward the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia has experts worried about the possibility of it blocking wildlife from food sources and threatening the island’s ecosystem.The iceberg, known as A68a, was about 400 kilometers, or about 250 miles, away from the coast of the British island territory of South Georgia as of Wednesday, the British Antarctic Survey said.- Advertisement – There is a chance that if A68a does run aground, it could disrupt part of South Georgia’s ecosystem, affecting some of the areas and paths that animals, such as seals and penguins, travel to hunt and gather food.“Essentially, seals and penguins birth on land, then commute back and forth into the ocean to source and return with food to feed their young,” Dr. Jackson said. “The iceberg might disrupt this, and seals and penguins might not be able to source and deliver food to their land-based pups and chicks, potentially triggering widespread starvation.”Douglas R. MacAyeal, a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago who has studied the behavior of large icebergs, compared A68a with another large iceberg, B-15A. In the 2000s, B-15A struck parts of Ross Island in the Ross Sea as well as the other icebergs surrounding it, disturbing the island’s penguin colonies. Some colonies went years without hatching chicks. The disturbance led to some penguins interbreeding with those from different colonies.“This led to a genetic benefit of exchange, of genetic material from different, normally isolated, cohorts,” Dr. MacAyeal said in an email. “In my view: If A68a were to encounter the island itself or the shoals around it, it would be spectacular for a few days but would not lead to an ecosystem catastrophe.”Some experts predict A68a will eventually break into large pieces as a result of strong currents.“The Southern Ocean around South Georgia is an utterly wild place with strong currents and sea-swell that will ‘flex’ the iceberg on top of the grounding point, causing it to stress and fracture much like a ship,” Dr. MacAyeal said.If the iceberg does break close to the island’s coast, there’s the potential that it could displace large amounts of seawater “that can inundate coastal communities,” Dr. Jackson said.This kind of hazard is something experts have had to grapple with as climate change has led to ice melting and ice systems breaking at significant rates.“I am doubtful given the increasing rate of ice melt worldwide that this is the last time we’ll see this,” Dr. Jackson said. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the years to come if we continue to see bigger icebergs presenting bigger hazards to communities of people and wildlife alike.”center_img The iceberg broke off from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017 and is about 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. The trajectory of the iceberg could change and steer clear of the island, because it’s in the strongest ocean current where waters are not impeded by continents. This means the iceberg could easily sail past the island, all depending on the course nature takes. – Advertisement – The iceberg may run aground near the island and be a few weeks out from the island’s coast, said Andrew Fleming, a remote sensing manager with the survey.last_img read more

Rory McIlroy shines in Turkey after close call with floodlights

first_imgAvoiding the floodlights provided the spark for Rory McIlroy to reignite his challenge for a fourth win of the year in the Turkish Airlines Open. McIlroy was level par for the day after 10 holes, dropping his first shots of the week by three-putting the third and 10th, the latter mistake prompting the 26-year-old to throw his putter at his bag – and appropriately miss. A birdie on the par-five 11th improved the Northern Irishman’s mood and a towering four iron from 229 yards on the 13th set up an eagle from just four feet. “I couldn’t see the pin,” McIlroy said. “I picked a line and had to go a little bit right of one of the floodlights. I just had to make sure I missed the floodlight and I knew it would be an okay shot. “It was probably partly luck and partly a good shot. It’s tough to stop it where that pin is, but to be able to make three there I thought was a big bonus. And to birdie the hole afterwards was nice as well. That definitely turned the day around a bit.” McIlroy also birdied the 18th for the first time this week after previously scrambling for pars, adding: “It was nice not to hit it in a bush or not hit it somewhere where you have to hit it left-handed. I thought for a second it was going left again and thankfully it just caught the right side of the slope for me. “It was nice to make four at the last and nice to get another shot towards the lead. I got off to a bit of a slow start. I don’t know why. I just felt very lethargic out there today and couldn’t really get any energy. To finish the way I did was very pleasing because I needed to dig in deep and finish the round off well, which I did.” Asked if another 67 and 20-under-par total would be enough to win the title, McIlroy added: ” I’ll go out there with the mindset that I need to beat that to have a chance to win. “The 67s I’ve shot this week have all been a little different and I feel like I’ve played within myself for all of them. So I feel there’s a low round out there for me and hopefully it’s tomorrow.” McIlroy has targeted at least one victory from his three events in the Final Series as he looks to win the Race to Dubai for the third time in four years. And the world number three will go into Sunday’s final round just a shot off the lead shared by Ryder Cup team-mate Victor Dubuisson and South African Jaco van Zyl after a third consecutive 67 at M ontgomerie Maxx Royal. Dubuisson’s sole win to date came in the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in 2013 and he has struggled to repeat such form in 2015, recording just two top-10 finishes. “My long game has been really, really good since the beginning of the year, but my short game was just really, really bad,” Dubuisson said after seven birdies and two bogeys in a round of 65. “I changed my putter a month and a half ago and today was a great performance. I made just two mistakes today but made some great putts on the back nine. “This is a course I feel great on. I t’s similar to a course I practise on when I’m not playing a tournament.” Van Zyl played his first 28 holes in 16 under and the following 26 in level par, carding a third-round 70 in pursuit of his first European Tour title. “It was kind of a sl ow day out there today,” said the 36-year-old, who has led since an opening 61 on Thursday. “I did what I needed to do on some holes and let a couple opportunities slip on the back nine. “O bviously Thursday was something special. I didn’t miss any shots and the putter was really hot. The last two days I’ve been hitting it nicely, so can’t really complain there. “At the end of the day, it’s an honour to be in this position. I’ll go out there and see what the golfing gods have got in score.” Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat was alongside McIlroy on 15 under after a 66 marred by a solitary bogey on the 18th, with England’s Chris Wood 13 under alongside BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong Hun An, whose 65 was the lowest score of the day. Press Associationlast_img read more