TORONTO – Researchers in the United States have discovered what they believe is evidence suggesting once massive icebergs were floating from northern Canada to southern Florida.
Using high-resolution seabed mapping, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have discovered around 700 iceberg erosions – a term referring to ” plow ‘on the ocean floor from icebergs. that range from North Carolina to the Florida Keys.
“The idea that icebergs can reach Florida is incredible,” Alan Condron, OMSI climate modeler. said in a press release. “The occurrence of scours at such low latitudes is very unexpected, not only because of the unusually high melt rates in this region, but also because the scours are found under the northward flowing Gulf Stream.”
The research, published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications, state that the icebergs were about 300 meters thick. They made the 5,000-plus-kilometer journey around 31,000 years ago during a period known as the Heinrich Event 3, which is already known for massive iceberg discharges.
“We also expect that there will be characteristics of younger and older scourings that result from other discharge events, given that there are hundreds of scours left to sample,” Jenna Hill said. , USGS research geologist.
Given the high ocean water temperatures near the southern states and the natural flow of the Gulf Stream in the opposite direction of iceberg movement, researchers believe the only way for the iceberg to get this far is before the melt is “massive, but short-lived glacial meltwater flow from Hudson Bay.”
“What our model suggests is that these icebergs get caught in currents created by glacial meltwater and essentially navigate along the coast,” Condron said. “When a large glacial lake dam breaks and releases huge amounts of fresh water into the ocean, there is enough water to create these strong coastal currents that essentially move the icebergs in the opposite direction to the Gulf. Stream. “
The researchers also note that these icebergs are essential in controlling the amount of warmer water transported from the southern United States to Europe via the Gulf Stream.
“As we are able to create more detailed computer models, we can actually get more precise characteristics of how the ocean actually flows, how currents move, how they separate and how they rotate.” Hill said. “It actually makes a big difference in terms of the circulation of fresh water and the actual impact on the climate.”