Giant iceberg tracked by university experts

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An iceberg the size of Manhattan is being tracked by experts from Sheffield University to stop it from becoming a major hazard to shipping.

The iceberg has broken off a glacier in Antarctica and the city team has been recruited to predict its likely path and any environmental impact.

Professor Grant Bigg is heading the project, funded by the National Environment Research Council.

The team’s work will also test techniques which could in the future be used by ice hazard warning services.

He said: “Its current movement does not raise environmental issues - but a previous giant iceberg from this location eventually entered the South Atlantic and if this happens it could potentially pose a hazard to ships.

“If the iceberg stays around the Antarctic coast, it will melt slowly and will eventually add a lot of freshwater that stays in the coastal current, altering its density and speed.

“Similarly, if it moves north it will melt faster but could alter currents as it may create a cap of freshwater above the denser seawater.”

Professor Bigg said such icebergs could have longer term environmental effects.