icebergs help to 'suck' carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: giant ice masses fertilise oceans to create blooms of plankton that absorb the gas - carbon dioxide absorbent
Huge icebergs fall off the ice around the poles and may have previously unknown effects on the atmosphere.
The researchers found that these huge icebergs left a large amount of nutrients when they woke up, which helped to produce a large amount of marine plankton.
Can extend hundreds of miles
Then absorb a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it deep in the ocean.
Surprising findings could have a significant impact on climate change forecasts, as more carbon is "sealed" or locked in by plankton.
The findings were made after researchers at the University of Sheffield studied the color of the ocean from satellite images.
Professor Grant's geographical analysis of the barley in the ear 175 the implementation of the satellite image --
During the year from 2003 to 2013, large numbers of plankton were found to breed
The distance of hundreds of miles around the melting iceberg is green.
Measure at least 18 km (11 miles)long -
Every year, they fall off the giant Antarctic ice sheet and head north to the equator.
When they do so, they melt and fertilize the ocean with trace elements (including iron) scraped from Antarctic land, which encourages the growth of huge cloud of plankton.
Professor Bigg said: "We detected a large increase in the amount of chlorophyll, usually 4 to 10 times the length of the iceberg.
In addition, after a huge iceberg passes by, the effect lasts for at least a month, giving plankton more time to absorb the carbon in the atmosphere and lock it deep in the ocean.
This finding is inconsistent with previous studies that show that the contribution of iceberg ocean fertilization to the absorption of carbon dioxide by plankton is relatively small.
Although the Southern Ocean is the coldest water on Earth, it plays an important role in the global carbon cycle.
It is believed that, driven by biological and chemical processes, including the growth of plankton, it accounts for about 10 per cent of global marine carbon storage.
Professor Bigg said: "This new analysis shows that huge icebergs may play an important role in the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean.
"If huge icebergs increase in the century as expected, negative feedback on the carbon cycle may become more important than we thought before.
The study is published today in the journal Natural Earth science.