Yeah, there were no icebergs before SUVs (proof – Australian Aborigines have no word for “iceberg” in any of their languages!).
Oil companies off Greenland’s shores may be basing risk assessments on outdated information as icebergs splinter the island’s coastline at an ever faster pace, scientists and environmentalists said.
Last month, an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan broke off a glacier on north-western Greenland, and 97 percent of the island’s surface ice melted. Companies awarded exploration blocks off the coast of Greenland, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates could hold 50 billion barrels of oil and gas, include Cairn Energy Plc (CNE) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (RDSA) Explorers are turning to the world’s least hospitable areas as resources in easier-to-access places such as the North Sea dwindle.
“When you have a change in the number of icebergs, which we most probably have now, you’re basing your risk assessment on outdated information,” Jan-Gunnar Winther, head of the Norwegian Polar Institute, said in an interview. It’s important that companies update their knowledge of iceberg formation and movements if they don’t want to risk being unprepared, he said.
Greenland’s melt follows a rise in average ice discharge of 9 billion metric tons a year from 1992 to 2009, according to a 2011 paper led by Eric Rignot, a professor of earth system science at the University of California at Irvine, published in Geophysical Research Letters. Studies by Russian scientists show the same trend of more icebergs, Winther said.