Rights: The University of Waikato Published 21 June 2007 Download

Dr Mike Williams from NIWA explains why studying the iceberg B15 was important and what scientists were able to learn from its movement and the impact it had on the environment around it.


One of the reasons we care about B15A is that it’s had the best studied impact of any iceberg that’s been around. Prior to B15A we didn’t have either the satellite imagery, or differential GPS to be able to go on and measure the iceberg and what was happening on the iceberg. And we also didn’t have as intense a study of things like penguins and the oceanography in McMurdo Sound, to be able to piece together all the impacts that an iceberg might have.

So we need these sort of natural experiments to see how we can perturb our own Earth. So for example, if all of a sudden an ice shelf started collapsing, and we started getting lots and lots of icebergs, how would that start to impact on ocean circulation, and then how would that change things?