Collapsing antarctic ice sheets, which have become potent symbols of global warming, may actually turn out to help in the battle against climate change and soaring carbon emissions.
Professor Rob Raiswell, a geologist at the University of Leeds, says that as the sheets break off the ice covering the continent, floating icebergs are produced that gouge minerals from the bedrock as they make their way to the sea. Raiswell believes that the accumulated frozen mud could breathe life into the icy waters around Antarctica, triggering a large, natural removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
And as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise. Raiswell says: ‘ It won’t solve the problem, but it might buy us some time.’
Good. Perhaps Al Gore will be able to offer Obama some tips on the environment with the added time this buys.