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Icebergs in the Antarctic play important role in carbon cycle
Date:3/28/2011

p>Sampling was conducted by a surface-mapping method used to survey the area around an iceberg more than 32 kilometers (20 miles) in length. The team surveyed the same area again ten days later, after the iceberg had drifted away. After ten days, the scientists observed increased concentrations of chlorophyll a and reduced concentrations of carbon dioxide compared to nearby areas without icebergs.

"We were quite surprised to find the persistence of the iceberg effects over many days," said Helly, director of the Laboratory for Environmental and Earth Sciences at SDSC.

The new results demonstrate that icebergs provide a connection between the geophysical and biological domains that directly affects the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean. This research significantly extends previous research results conducted in the same environment and reveals the dynamic properties of icebergs and their effects on the ocean in unexpected ways.

"These findings confirm that icebergs are a dynamic and significant component of polar ecosystems," said Roberta L. Marinelli, director of the NSF's Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program.


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Contact: Robert Monroe or Mario Aguilera
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
858-534-3624
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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