CNN reported icebergs that broke off Antarctic ice shelves are heading for New Zealand. One measuring 30 feet high is now 160 miles southeast of New Zealand’s Stewart Island. Satellite photos indicate they’re hundreds of icebergs roaming throughout the Pacific.
Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes, earth quakes, tsunamis, oil slicks and human junk floating in the oceans, icebergs are rather benign objects unless a ship happens to ram into one. But if air traffic controllers can keep jets from crashing into each other, there’s no reason why iceberg migration experts can’t do the same, especially since icebergs travel at a snail’s space, sometimes taking years to move from A to B. (See the Encyclopedia Britannica article for more information on these magnificent frozen structures.)
In 2006 a few icebergs were visible from the New Zealand coastline, the first seen since 1931. So what should we do about hundreds of gigantic chunks of ice heading to a country known for its agricultural products, sheep and tourism?
Thinking “outside the box, ” as we Californian’s do so well (look at our impressive economic growth), I think New Zealand should turn approaching icebergs into theme parks. Once the icebergs are tethered at a safe distance off the coast, New Zealand entrepreneurs and the Ministry of Tourism can develop ski resorts, train and helicopter tours, ice sculpture exhibits and sheep wool shows–sort of a Disneyland appealing to tourists who like cold weather and ice.
People who live in the upper midwest (especially Minnesotans) will love it. When warm, humid Summer days arrive, they’ll jump on a non-stop flight to New Zealand, take a ferry boat ride around the anchored icebergs, climb 50 feet to the first ledge of an iceberg and immediately enjoy a pina colada shaved ice.
Since seasons are reversed “down under” (i.e. when it’s Winter in North America, it’s Summer in New Zealand), the New Zealand Ministry of Tourism will need to keep the icebergs frozen when warm weather hits. Solar-powered refrigeration units embedded in each iceberg should do the trick while reducing the release of green house gases and maintaining New Zealand’s pristine air.
Yes, I think New Zealand should develop this cottage industry and, if it fails, water district officials can slowly melt the icebergs as a water source.