North American glaciers swelled until they released an ‘iceberg armada’ in the last Ice Age IBTimes UK

The recent spotting of an iceberg off Ferryland coast in Canada's Newfoundland is grabbing headlines as hundreds of people are flocking to the town to catch a glimpse of the first one of the season.

Although such towering ice mountains are a common sight in the area – popularly known as "iceberg alley" – during the spring season, the arrival of the first berg is earlier than usual.

Also, movement of these ice mountains has become more frequent over the past one year, according to the Canadian Press, which reported that nearly 616 icebergs have already moved into the North Atlantic shipping lanes this season, compared to 687 by the late-September season's end in 2016.

And, environmentalists blame the increase on global warming.

Experts have reportedly told the Canadian Press that uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds are apparently drawing the icebergs south and could be a reason for the increased movement of icebergs.

Iceberg Newfoundland
The emergence of first iceberg of the season at the South Shore near Ferryland Newfoundland, Canada earlier than usual has led to fears if it is a consequence of global warming and climate change (Reuters/Jody Martin)Reuters/Jody Martin

Climatologists have already warned that glaciers are shrinking at a rapid rate – leading to formation of more icebergs – because of the rising surface temperatures. The phenomenon is also leading to a significant rise in sea levels across the globe.

Daniel Fagre, a research scientist from the US Geological Survey Global Change Research Program, who studies the glaciers at Glacier National Park, Montana, had told National Geography that considering the rate at which the glaciers at the park were melting, most of them will disappear within 30 years.

The Glacier National Park, when formed in 1910, was home to an estimated 150 glaciers, but the number has gone down to fewer than 30. And the ones that remain have shrunk by two-thirds in size.

"Things that normally happen in geologic time are happening during the span of a human lifetime. It's like watching the Statue of Liberty melt," the scientist had noted.