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

Karachi braces for its first taste of ODI cricket in a decade today

first_imgIT has been ten years since Karachi saw its last ODI. In that time, three World Cups have been staged, a generation has grown up, and the one-day game has been through a revolution. Sure, this is only a tender sapling of a tour, containing only limited-overs fixtures, with 10 Sri Lanka players having refused to travel. But we are at the start of the longest trip an international side has made to Pakistan since 2009, and PCB hopes that top-flight cricket will really set about putting its roots down in the country this time. Could a home Test series be on the horizon?It is difficult to put into words how much the resumption of a regular schedule could mean to Pakistan. Whole cities coming alive for matches, packed stadiums gasping at withering spells of fast bowling and spin-bowling wizardry, while tense battles play out in storeyed venues.Forget Pakistan; cricket needs this. It would also be fitting, of course, if Misbah-ul-Haq, who shepherded Pakistan so masterfully through their nomad years, gets this chance to shape the team’s long-ached-for return home.But perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves. Sri Lanka have sent a substantially weakened team, owing to 10 players’ continued doubts over the security situation.Against a side missing the likes of Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews and designated captain Dimuth Karunaratne, the hosts start as strong favourites. What’s more important than the runs or wickets, though, is that the tour is on. And that it goes well.The old coach is gone, as are selectors and support staff, but Sarfaraz Ahmed is still around as captain, despite Pakistan’s failure to make it to the World Cup semi-finals. But will it be the same old Sarfaraz? Will he still bat in the lower middle order? Will he employ the same tactics? How much will Misbah, in his powerful new avatar, change the way Sarfaraz approaches his job? And after a modest World Cup personally, can Sarfaraz lift himself into good form again?Sri Lanka’s top order is among the most brittle in ODIs at the best of times, and it is the batting that has been most weakened by the withdrawals.Their captain for this series, Lahiru Thirimanne, struggles to make the first-choice XI, for example. Nevertheless, Thirimanne is the most experienced batsman on tour, and if Sri Lanka are to make competitive totals here, he will probably be required to play the sorts of long, measured innings he specialises in at his best. (ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more