Home' Greymouth Star : July 7th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
An enormous iceberg, more than 5180
square kilometres in area — almost six
times the size of Auckland — is poised
to detach from one of the largest floating
ice shelves in Antarctica and float off in
the Weddell S ea, south of the tip of South
Scientists have been expecting the break
from the Larsen C ice shelf, monitoring
the progress of a crack that extended to
more than 160km long in recent months.
The latest update from scientists with
Nasa and the University of California
Irvine found that only 4.8km of ice
connect the impending iceberg to the
Those parts of the iceberg that have
already detached have begun to move
rapidly seaward, widening the rift in
recent days and leaving the remaining
ice “strained near to breaking point,”
according to Adrian Luckman, a scientist
monitoring Larsen C at Swansea
University in Wales.
The expected calving will not affect
global sea level, because the ice that has
detached was already afloat in the ocean.
But some scientists fear that it could
hasten the destabilisation of the larger
Larsen C ice shelf.
The iceberg will be one of the most
massive ever seen from Antarctica.
It will be more than 182m thick and
contain roughly 1 trillion tonnes of ice,
according to an analysis by the European
Space Agency and Noel Gourmelen, a
scientist at the University of Edinburgh.
Scientists are divided about the impact
the break will have on Antarctica’s ice
Some have contended there is little
proof that the break, which will reduce
the size of the Larsen C more than
scientists have obser ved previously,
reflects the advance of climate change.
Ice shelves do, after all, break off
“ We do not need to press the panic
button for Larsen C. Large calving
events such as this are normal processes
of a healthy ice sheet, ones that have
occurred for decades, centuries, millennia
— o n cycles that are much longer than
a human or satellite lifetime,” Helen
Amana Fricker, an Antarctic scientist at
the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
But others disagree.
“Of course this is due to climate
warming in the peninsula,” Eric Rignot, a
Nasa and University of California Irvine
expert on Antarctica, said.
Antarctica has seen an increase in breaks
in its ice shelves in recent years.
The Larsen A ice shelf, far closer to the
northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula
— a nd therefore, warmer latitudes —
collapsed in 1995. In 2002, the same
thing happened with Larsen B, its
southern cousin, slightly closer to the
Now, Larsen C, still closer to the south
pole and subject to cooler temperatures,
has seen a major break.
There are big gaps in scientists’
knowledge about what might have
disturbed the Larsen C ice shelf.
Recent studies have suggested that the
ice of Larsen C has begun to flow more
quickly to the sea through the shelf in
recent years. The ice shelf has also been
thinning and its surface has been getting
lower in the water, suggesting that it
might be melting from below.
But Fricker presented data to suggest
that the ice shelf has since begun to
“ Yes, I agree Larsen C is ‘next in line’
southwards after Larsen A and B,” Fricker
“However, there is actually no research
showing that Larsen C is getting thinner
and flowing faster. In fact, in recent years,
it is the opposite. ”
There is a similar debate over whether
this individual break will destabilise the
ice shelf and lead to further disintegration.
According to Rignot, Larsen C holds
back around 1cm of global sea level rise
in the form of glaciers feeding into the
remaining ice shelf. If the ice shelf were
to continue to disintegrate, the ice might
flow more rapidly into the sea.
An even larger fear is the southward and
poleward progression of ice shelf collapse,
Rignot said, pointing out that farther
south are ice shelves that, by stabilising
glaciers, are preventing vastly more sea
level rise than Larsen C does.
Larsen C is among Antarctica’s largest
ice shelves but still pales in comparison to
the Ross Ice Shelf and Filchner-Ronne
Ice Shelf. Scientists this month reported
a major melt event that occurred several
years ago atop the surface of the Ross
Ice Shelf accompanied by at least some
rainfall, which also gave them concern.
Scientists will be watching the break
c losely and trying to glean lessons about
what to expect from other potentially
vulnerable ice shelves in Antarctica.
“ While it might not be caused by global
warming, it’s at least a natural laboratory
to study how breakups will occur at other
ice shelves to improve the theoretical
basis for our projections of future sea level
rise,” Nasa’s Tom Wagner, who directs the
agency’s polar programmes, said.
Only 4.8 remaining kilometres of ice continue to connect the impending iceberg to
the Larsen C ice shelf.
Friday, July 7, 2017 - 9
Players sleeping in spare
rooms, struggling for cash
No coach, a maxed credit
card and a friend’s spare room
is hardly the glamour side of
Wimbledon. But that is the
reality for some competitors
who have not yet made the
tennis big time.
British player Alex Ward,
27, was knocked out of the
tournament yesterday after
gaining a surprise entry by
beating Russia’s Teymuraz
Gabashvili in the qualifying
round. Ward, ranked 855 in the
world after a recent injury, said
he had to send his four shirts off
to be washed before his game
with fellow Brit Kyle Edmund.
Despite losing three sets to
one, the $60,000 cash injection
Wimbledon brings will be a
lifeline for the Barcelona-based
player who does not have a
coach and has been sleeping in
his friend’s spare room during
the tournament. Now, having
clawed his way back from maxed
out credit cards, the young
player plans to use the money to
invest in a full-time coach in a
bid for further success.
“It’s always been luckily the
right time for a cash injection
and again it’s happened this
year,” he said before his match.
“Last year, with this wrist
problem, I sought a few
specialists and nobody was
coming up with any answers.
The money was running low. So
that was a tough period. But I’ve
always wanted to do it if I can, if
it ’s possible.”
It is an attitude that is in stark
contrast with that of Australia’s
Bernard Tomic, who admitted
he struggled for motivation in
his first-round loss overnight
and was “bored” on court.
British 20-year-old wildcard
entry Katie Boulter is in a
similar situation to Ward. She
will use the $60,000 to hire a
coach to travel with in what she
describes as a “game-changer”.
Boulter too has fought back
from injury and is ranked in
the top 300 but now wants to
become No 1 in the world.
“It’s been a lifelong goal to
play at Wimbledon, it ’s so
surreal now it’s
each moment and
having the best
time of my life.
me up. Obviously I
want to win some
rounds and you get
some more money,
but the majority
is going to go into
my tennis,” she
players is a far cry
from the world’s
top seeds who
ice baths, massages
and sushi at the
ready to help with
Doniger has been
renting property to
from all over the
world for more
than 30 years and
said top stars look
to hire local homes
at “premium” rates.
“ They rent
homes within 20
minutes’ walk of
she said. “ There
are no hotels in
that radius and
that is really why
they tend to rent
a home for two
weeks. They do
have to take it for
two weeks so if
they ’re going to
get knocked out in
the first few days
it’s a very expensive proposition.”
She said homes in the area
range from more than $20,000
a week for a five-bedroom home
that might come with electronic
security gates to ensure privacy
for top players, or space for
corporate clients to erect a
marquee in the backyard. At
the cheaper end, young doubles
players might secure a three-
bedroom terraced home for
around $4200 per week, or
even stay in a local bed and
breakfast with their coach. As
for any diva requests from the
players, Doniger would not
disclose her clients’ requirements
but said: “I won’t let out
houses that aren’t extremely
comfortable. They all have big
beds, proper power showers, a
very large television and proper
wifi, that ’s about all the players
want to be happy.”
— New Zealand Herald
The ugly side of
Alex Ward stayed in a friend’s spare room after qualifying for Wimbledon but
lost his first round match to Kyle Edmund.
Antarctica iceberg six
times size of Auckland
about to break off
audi Arabia’s royal family which is
currently in a power play to rule Middle
Eastern world politics is a hierarchy of
mega wealthy closely-related backstabbing
The campaign by Saudi Arabia to oust its
ultra-wealthy neighbour Qatar — the world’s richest
nation — from trading with other countries is seen by
some as a tactic by the current Saudi ruler and his heir.
The ruling His Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz
al-Saud, who entertained Donald Trump on the US
President ’s first Middle East tour, is well-versed in
power grabs. The 25th son of the founder of modern
Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, Salman is one
of 36 sur viving sons of the 45 male children and many
The vast Saudi reserves of petroleum discovered
during Ibn Saud’s reign still funds the lifestyles of the
kingdom’s heirs. Thousands of Saudi princes who are
King Ibn Saud’s grandsons and great grandsons live
lavish lifestyles far away from the kingdom, on the
French Riviera and in Spain’s exclusive holiday spots.
They own French chateaux, Swiss bank accounts and
some of the world’s largest yachts.
King Salman is worth a reputed $17 billion and owns
a villa in Vallauris Golfe-Juan, in south-eastern France
where closure of the local beach during his annual
holiday incenses locals. Salman has lived a gilded life as
one of the founding Saudi king’s favourite sons. King
Ibn Saud had 22 wives, though reportedly never more
than four at a time.
King Salman is one of the “Magnificent Seven”, the
seven sons of Ibn Saud’s favourite and 10th wife Hassa
al Sudairi. Married to the king at the age of 13, not
only was she beautiful but rose to most prominent
wife because she bore him the most sons. Until more
recently Saudi Arabia’s royal family practised “agnatic
seniority” which means the monarch’s younger brother
succeeds to the throne over the monarch’s own sons.
The latter system, known as primogeniture and
employed by the British royal family’s system makes
Prince Charles followed by Prince William as the line
to succeed Queen Elizabeth. The late King Abdulaziz
Ibn Saud now has more than 1000 grandsons who
intermarry within the dynasty to re-establish their
lineage and status within the ruling clan. The power
hungry rivalry between these sons of Saud is a story of
deposition, exile and even murder.
The ruthless grab for the rights of succession can
be seen in the recent overthrow by the king’s son
Mohammad bin Salman of his cousin Muhammad
bin Nayef as the new crown prince. Almost all powers
under the king are now concentrated in the hands of
the new crown prince, who is also the defence minister.
During United States President Donald Trump’s
recent visit, Mohammad bin Salman made the
dominant play of securing Saudi Arabia’s single biggest
arms deal in history, worth $350 billion. Following
his father’s move against Yemen, which King Salman
bombed just three months after succeeding half
brother King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman has
moved against Qatar. Despite claiming Qatar must
be ostracised because of its links to terrorism, Saudi’s
move is seen by some as a bully boy tactic against a
wealthy neighbouring rival.
But the princes of Saud cut their baby teeth in palace
revolt, evidenced by the facts of their family history.
Ibn Saud, who ruled from his teenage years until his
death at 88 in 1953, was succeeded by his son Saud
from his second wife. King Saud ruled for 11 years but
his lavish spending led to a power struggle with his half
brother, Crown Prince Faisal, son of Ibn Saud’s third
wife. The royal family forced Saud to abdicate in favour
of Faisal, and then Saud was deposed and exiled. King
Faisal ruled until 1975, when he was assassinated by his
nephew Faisal bin Musaid. The nephew was promptly
beheaded. Another half brother Khalid, by King Ibn
Saud’s sixth wife, took the throne. His seven-year
reign, which ended in his fatal heart attack in 1982 was
marked by his religious conservatism.
In 1977, one of King Ibn Saud’s great
granddaughters, Princess Mishaal bin Fahd al Saud
was executed by firing squad at the age of 19 for
alleged adultery. She had fallen in love with the Saudi
ambassador to Lebanon, Khaled, while studying there.
Princess Mishaal was blindfolded, made to kneel and
publicly executed on the explicit instructions of her
grandfather. Khaled was forced to watch and was then
She would not be the last member of Saudi’s royal
family to suffer a public execution. King Khalid was
succeeded by Fahd, the eldest of the “Magnificent
Seven”. King Fahd oversaw the closest period of Saudi-
US relations before the Donald Trump era and steered
the country through the 1980s oil price collapse and
the first Gulf war. He also enjoyed big spending during
his 23 year rule. Even after a stroke incapacitated him
in 1995, he would fly in on his personal 747 aeroplane
with a huge entourage to Marbella, Spain for his
annual holiday enjoyed in his wheelchair. Crown Prince
Abdullah, first son of Ibn Saud’s 10th wife, was made
king in 2005 and ruled until his death in 2015. In
2016, the royal family publicly beheaded Prince Turki
bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer after he was
convicted of shooting another man to death during
a brawl. The sixth of the “Magnificent Seven” sons of
Hassa al Sudairi, and the current King Salman took
Today’s Saudi cabinet is littered with the male heirs
of King Ibn Saud. So is the list of the world’s richest
men with Prince Al-Waleed bin Taleel being named
34th richest in the world with a $28 billion fortune.
Despite introducing a domestic austerity programme
to respond to low oil prices, the current Saudi monarch
flies around in luxury jets and helicopters with an
enormous retinue. In May this year, it was a triumphant
moment for him to welcome President Trump in May.
After the signing of the massive arms deal, the king
duly presented Trump with his nation’s highest honour,
the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud. Trump caused
controversy by appearing to kneel before the king to
accept the golden medallion around his neck.
It remains to be seen how Qatar will weather the
demands by Saudi Arabia and its friends, backed by the
US. Behind Qatar, the US and Saudi Arabia are the
10th and 11th richest countries in the world.
Saudi boys pose in front of a huge billboard showing in the centre, King Salman, with his son Mohammed bin Salman to the right, and Prince Mohammed bin
Nayef to the left.
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