Icebergs melting affect more than just the penguins

Icebergs were once glaciers, formed in the cold homes of the poles.

"Melting Iceberg" by SIDwms is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Icebergs were once glaciers, formed in the cold homes of the poles.

Katelyn Grant

Our Earth is home to many great features, one of them being icebergs. Icebergs were once glaciers, formed in the cold homes of the poles. Believe it or not, icebergs have a big impact on our lives as we know it. Climate change is a big thing and we need to take action. 

In the Arctic, icebergs are melting and slowly drifting away from land and going toward some continents and causing havoc. Some icebergs split in two and create more wreckage for everyone, including penguins. Sixth grader Ellise Baidel is concerned about the change.

 “I think this is another reason why we need to reduce our energy usage and waste as much as we can to help stop global warming,” Baidel said. “Not only to help the arctic species of the world, but if we could stop global warming, it would help all species all around the world.”   

Earthsky blog says the Antarctic iceberg A-68A broke off from its home in Antarctica and is gliding across the Antarctic Ocean slowly toward the sacred island of South Georgia. It is the biggest iceberg on Earth. It split into two separate icebergs on Dec. 18, 2020 according to the European Space Agency (ESA). Both halves of the iceberg are quite massive. When ESA found the smaller half, it was the size of a small city, about 12 miles long. The other half is much, much bigger.  It is about 80 miles long. 

Whole ecosystems could die just because of humans. (“Macaroni Penguins at Cooper Bay, South Georgia” by Liam Quinn is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

South Georgia is a remote, uninhabited island in the South Atlantic, populated mostly by seals and penguins. According to ESA, A-68A should be colliding with South Georgia Island pretty soon, endangering the lives of all the penguins and seals who live there. King penguins nest on this island alongside macaroni penguins, too. ESA says that South Georgia is home to 3 million breeding pairs of macaroni penguins, the largest macaroni penguin population in the world! ESA says that penguins need access to the sea to feed. So, if the iceberg collides with their island, it could easily block foraging routes and life on the seafloor would be crushed. ESA also says that if A-68A does anchor in South Georgia, it could remain there for up to 10 years. So, if the iceberg doesn’t allow the penguins and seals that live on the island to search for food for 10 years, they may not survive. Slowly, the macaroni and king penguin populations will decrease until no more life remains on this lonely island. Whole ecosystems will die and it would be our fault. 

“Instead of just waiting and taking the chance of the iceberg harming the animals and their habitats, we need to do something about it, mostly because we have enough time to make a change and help these animals in trouble,” Baidel said. “Especially if some animals do not get harmed, the iceberg will affect some of their food supply and limit the population of the species.” 

As you can see, icebergs have a big impact on our planet. They might be pretty but we need to keep this planet cold in order for these icebergs to stay together. Climate change is a big deal and only we can fix this mess we caused. We are sharing this planet with animals and plants, our neighbors and friends.  We must keep this planet safe and alive because we share it with so many living creatures and if we don’t stop this now, we will have lots of problems in the future.