notes from the field

No. 9 - Icebergs

Ice, ice everywhere and not a drop to drink.

We've been plagued with large 'bergs and fog for days, with only an occasional glimpse further than a mile or so. Very large flat-top hunks of ice break off the permanent ice shelves located to the south of us at the edge of the Bellingshausen Sea or to the east around the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in the Weddell Sea. These monsters, sometimes several square miles in area and 1000 feet thick (of which only 100-200 feet extends above the water), sail before the winds and break apart under the constant assault of waves and weather. Many will strike the bottom and get stuck for a while as they move through the archipelago. Armadas of grounded ice bergs appear on the radar as the bottom rises to the underwater shelves surrounding the islands and we've had to move several stations and adjust our transects in order to gain a little room. We're not sure where they are coming from but there is a lot more ice bergs in the area than we are accustomed to seeing. For the first time in 10 years I cancelled a station for the simple reason that we couldn't get anywhere near it.


next episode: Storms.