While not much life exists on the icy surface of the Antarctic, life is teaming undersea and scientists are now worried that more frequent icebergs could pose a real threat to these underwater inhabitants.
Antarctic sea spider
In an article, Ice scour disturbance in Antarctic waters, published in the prestigious journal Science, members of the British Antarctic Survey have concluded that as temperatures continue to rise due to global warming, an increasing number of bottom-scouring icebergs could literally scrape away many of the species that live in Antarctica’s shallow waters.
Cushion stars in the shallow Antarctic waters
The rate of iceberg scouring on the West Antarctic Peninsula seabed is affected by the duration of winter sea ice, which has dramatically declined (in space and time) in the region over the last few decades due to climate warming. This increase in iceberg disturbance on the seabed, where the majority of all Antarctic life occurs (80%), could have severe effects on the marine creatures living as deep as 500m underwater.