26 Feb 2010

Scientists warn of iceberg threat to ocean currents

8:44 pm on 26 February 2010

Scientists say a vast iceberg weighing billions of tonnes which broke off the Antarctic continent poses a threat the world's ocean currents and weather patterns.

Australian researchers say the iceberg - the size of Luxembourg - could block an area that produces a quarter of the world's dense and very cold seawater, known as bottom water, the BBC reports.

Bottom water drives ocean currents, and any changes could alter weather patterns.

The iceberg broke off earlier in February and is now floating south of Australia.

Dr Neal Young, a glaciologist at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research Centre in Tasmania, says any disruption to the production of bottom water in the region would affect ocean currents, and consequently weather patterns, for years to come.