Calving of a massive iceberg off Antarctica last week could alter the salinity of the surrounding ocean, with damaging effects on marine life and global ocean currents----news. What could be the possible repercussions of this?
Before the formation of the iceberg, the Mertz Peninsula provided the right conditions for a polynia - an expanse of open water surrounded by sea-ice to exist. As well as providing a feeding site for the region's wildlife, the polynia also was a key production site of bottom water which is very cold, dense water that sinks to the ocean floor.
Sea ice is relatively fresh compared to sea water, so the more sea ice you have (in the surrounding area), the more salt that is left in the remaining open water. The rise in the concentration of salt increases the water's density, causing it to sink to the bottom of the ocean. This a ...more