Melting Arctic Ice click for larger image
The image was copied from the ships computer (where Byrd had downloaded the camera flash memory stick to) by another member of the shipboard research crew ( Dan Crosbie) and passed on to Environment Canada. Then it was eagerly adopted by many as an example of the fate that awaits the polar bears - including Al Gore, who used the picture as huge projected backdrop in one of his highly lucrative lectures, a conference of human resource executives on March 22, 2007 in Toronto, Canada.
“Their habitat is melting,” “beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet.”
Yes, it melts every summer.
Historical records show that large tabular bergs are produced sporadically with typical recurrence times of 50-100 years [Budd, 1966] and despite their large size, appear to have little effect on the long-term ice flow. Unlike the disintegration of parts of the peninsular ice shelves, the production of tabular bergs is part of a normal cycle in which the ice shelf advances beyond its confining embaymentor pinning points and subsequently retreats by calving.
Despite this prominent role we know very little about the mechanisms and controlling forces that lead to rift initiation and propagation. This ignorance hinders any attempt to assess accurately how ice sheets will respond to future climate change.
However, two of the three bursts did occur within three days of periods of sustained winds (shaded part of Figure 2c), suggesting there might be some relationship with prolonged winds. If this were the case, we would expect the rift would propagate faster in the winter when the winds are strongest