Massive ice island breaks off Greenland glacier
The 59-square-mile ice island that broke off Greenland's Petermann Glacier can be seen at the northern end of the glacier.
July 18th, 2012
06:44 AM ET

Massive ice island breaks off Greenland glacier

The Petermann Glacier before the ice island broke off this week.

An island of ice twice the size of Manhattan broke off this week from a Greenland glacier, a University of Delaware researcher reports.

The 59-square-mile (150 square kilometers) iceberg is the second massive loss for the Petermann Glacier in two years, researcher Andreas Muenchow reports. In 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was lost from the glacier.

“While the size is not as spectacular as it was in 2010, the fact that it follows so closely to the 2010 event brings the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years,” Muenchow says in a university press release.

The researcher says its too early to blame global warming for the loss of Greenland ice, however.

“Northwest Greenland and northeast Canada are warming more than five times faster than the rest of the world,” Muenchow says in the press release, “but the observed warming is not proof that the diminishing ice shelf is caused by this, because air temperatures have little effect on this glacier; ocean temperatures do, and our ocean temperature time series are only five to eight years long — too short to establish a robust warming signal.”

Muenchow says the massive chunk of ice is expected to eventually enter the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, where it will break up into smaller icebergs.

That could take a while. Pieces of the 2010 calving can still be found along the Canadian coast as far south as Labrador, Muenchow said.

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soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. Paige

    I am her daugter i love news and I am 10

    July 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Someone Who Reads

    We have had 5 ice ages not one. And each one was less than the one before. GEEEE what melts ice?? Heat! So where are we between number 5 and number 6? Still on the upswing of the curve? Probably. Our sun is expanding, hmmm does that cause more heat? Global warming my rear.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Sounds like you got it all figured out, im electing you in November. You seem to have it all figured out.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • j0eschm0e

      very true. hopefully our sun is just in its peak cycle / solar maximum. I hear we have another year of solar maximum though. 5 or 6 years from now should be a cooler summer. 5 or 6 years ago my area had a cool summer, and rained 2/3 of the summer. crops didnt grow well.

      July 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. goby

    Isn't this what glaciers do? They break off and make icebergs.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Pass the Popcorn

    Best Monday Reading Ever!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Philadelphia

    according to the media all weather and events (including wars and mass shootings) are caused by one or both of the following:

    1) Global warming
    2) Mitt Romney

    July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • rationalist

      Mitt does not believe in global warming.He certainly knows how to make a buck and outsource american jobs and withhold his income tax returns though.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • j0eschm0e

      lame. obama hasnt done sq ua t for almost 4 years, and waiting until after the next election to enact anything is just plain silly. why cant obama act on things now?? oh mr russian president, wait until the next election and ill have more leway. theres just something real fishy about that bu ll ** **

      July 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lee Oates

    Interesting to see the intelligence displayed here. The Naked Ape examines his future and concludes that everything is OK and climate change is just another fiction conceived by troublemakers...and he takes another step into extinction.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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