Thursday, June 21, 2007

good news from global warming

Icebergs that break off Antarctica and drift away turn out to be hotspots of life in the cold southern ocean, researchers report.

Turns out, the melting ice also dumps particles scraped off Antarctica into the ocean, providing a pool of nutrients that feed plankton and tiny shrimplike creatures known as krill.

Indeed, the researchers led by Kenneth L. Smith Jr., of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif., found an increase in life forms surrounding a pair of icebergs they studied.

The abundance extended nearly 2 1/2 miles away from the drifting ice, they report in this week's online edition of the journal Science.

By promoting life surrounding them, the icebergs also may have an impact on reducing the excess carbon in the atmosphere _ at least somewhat countering the greenhouse warming that helped make them break free in the first place, Smith suggested.


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