Icebergs! They’re gorgeous, chilly, and might remind you of some of the people you went to high school with.
Or at least they might by the end of this article.
And because sea ice is breaking off more frequently, we’re seeing more and more of these gorgeous chunks of icecap float away into the sea. With so many icebergs hitting the news lately, we thought we’d take a look at this recent class to see what their future holds.
Most likely to end up in a cocktail glass: Franklin.
Most likely to star in a “Titanic” remake: Aisha.
Most likely to become an ice sculpture … goes to Malcolm.
Most likely to be on the cover of National Geographic: Emilia.
Most likely to be confused for the island of Jamaica: Bobbi.
Weirdest fashion sense: Nathan.
Best bromance goes to Jesse and Sam.
Most likely to have a meltdown: Anders.
Best party host goes to Kim.
…and finally, last but not least, class president: Stephanie.
This a big class! And that’s the problem.
It’s great to see all these icebergs, but what’s not so good is their rate of graduation.
It’s hard to count exactly how many icebergs exist at any one time, but experts say we have more today than we did even when the Titanic sailed. And that’s because they’re graduating from their ice shelves (and glaciers) much too quickly.
So while they’re stunning, we’re seeing these beauties way more often than we should be. Seriously, it seems like every year, there’s some new mega-berg, like this one in 2014 or this one in 2010. In fact, Antarctica is losing over 300 square kilometers of sea ice every year.
We’d rather see these icebergs stay together! (BFFs! Never lose touch! Class of ’16 forever!)
I mean, check out these pictures from NASA. Those are the before-and-after shots of a 20-mile-long iceberg about to crack its way off the Nansen Ice Shelf.
The breakup happened over the last two years. The crack itself runs nearly the entire length of the ice sheet and is as wide as a football field.
That whole section is about to detach from the ice shelf.
And though sea ice doesn’t contribute to sea level rise (as opposed to land-based ice), too much melt can cause other problems, like slowing down ocean currents and increasing the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the ocean. Plus, big ice shelves help act like a cork, keeping land-based ice from slipping into the sea, where it does contribute to sea level rise.
Climate change is one of the biggest problems we are going to have to tackle in the near future and, unfortunately, there are still people — people who want to be world leaders — who refuse to take it seriously.
There’s still plenty we can do — like letting go of fossil fuels — so don’t despair. But now is the time to act and keep next year’s “Iceberg Yearbook” as small as possible.