The video, published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), seeks to explain the ever-lasting phenomenon of green icebergs in the Antarctic. Researchers recently proposed a new idea that may explain why some Antarctic icebergs are tinged emerald green rather than the normal blue, potentially solving a decades-long scientific mystery.
The green icebergs have been a curiosity to scientists for decades, but now glaciologists report in a new study that they suspect iron oxides in rock dust from Antarctica’s mainland are turning some icebergs green. They formulated the new theory after Australian researchers discovered large amounts of iron in East Antarctica’s Amery Ice Shelf.
Iron is a key nutrient for phytoplankton, microscopic plants that form the base of the marine food web. But iron is scarce in many areas of the ocean.
If experiments prove the new theory right, it would mean green icebergs are ferrying precious iron from Antarctica’s mainland to the open sea when they break off, providing this key nutrient to the organisms that support nearly all marine life.
It’s like taking a package to the post office. The iceberg can deliver this iron out into the ocean far away, and then melt and deliver it to the phytoplankton that can use it as a nutrient. We always thought green icebergs were just an exotic curiosity, but now we think they may actually be important,
…said Stephen Warren, a glaciologist at the University of Washington and lead author of the new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.