Research

Iceberg Melting Depends on Shape

An iceberg's melt rate depends strongly on its shape below the water.

Not all icebergs melt equally. Through a combination of experiment and numerical simulation, researchers have shown that an iceberg’s shape underwater strongly affects how it melts. Specifically, icebergs in a flow melt more quickly on the front and side surfaces and slower on the underside. This means that narrow icebergs that project deep into the water will melt faster than wider, shallow ones. Currently, climate models don’t account for this variation, but the researchers hope their work will help build more accurate models for future studies. (Image credit: iceberg – C. Matias, experiment – E. Hester et al.; research credit: E. Hester et al.; see also APS Physics)

Snapshots of a model iceberg as it melts.
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