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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Filed under: Science
soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. Tom

    We need to find an economical way to bring these glacial remnants close to land and route the pure fresh water to areas where it can be used instead of letting it melt into the sea and possibly interrupt the thermohaline circulation.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom2

      Yea what Tom said

      July 18, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Richard Pryor tried that in "Brewster's Millions".

      July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      Ways have already been developed to do exactly what you suggest. They won't be used. Why? I'll give you a hint: for the same reasons we aren't all driving electric cars, riding cross-country on high speed trains or turning on our computers with solar, wind or hydro generated power.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Chedar

      May the broken glaciers should be transported to the farmer in the Midwest to irrigate their farms.The corn they are raising ain't worth a thing due to drought.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Pinguins_and_Polar_Bears association


      July 18, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Wow. 7.5 gallons per cubic foot ~8 pounds per gallon. I get 60 pounds per cubic foot of water. 27,878,400 square feet/square mile.
      1.6 BILLION pounds per square mile @ 1foot thick. YTell us-how would YOU move it?

      July 18, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Max: it floats...

      July 18, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Duke5343

      That is not ecomomic

      July 18, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      Where are you at, I'll have my helicopter drop it on your head, maybe that would knock some sense into it.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Optimistic

      What if we got a bunch of bags of ice and put it all around the glaciers to keep them cold would that work??? let me know and ill start the fundraising to keep the poles as cold as a coors light

      July 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. j

    nothing to see here folks. move along. hey quick, look over here at this dramatic article about blah blah blah blah.

    uuh.. what were we talking about again?

    oh yeah, that global warming shtuff. its a lie that al gore invented n stuff. i like turtles

    July 18, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • grumpy

      It's kind of early to be that drunk, j... at least it is for the rest of us.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • rshcier

      We'll be sure to "move along" from this vacuous comment as well.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. nolongerarepublican

    Would that be the glacier formed during the ICE AGE when the earth was basically FROZEN?
    That glacier?
    Oh no, now ice from the ice age is thawing.
    Where will it end?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. nolongerarepublican

    "brings the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years"
    150 years? So much for Global Warming.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Name that fool

      If you are no longer a republican, what are you? A) Libertarian (good for you!) B) Democrat (uh-oh, you drank the Obama kool-aid and stopped relying on truth & logic)

      July 18, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Name –
      I'm a Liber-Repub-Acrat.
      Want to buy carbon credits. You'll help me become part of the 1%.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. mk

    I think j is really Mitt.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jack Dawson version 2012

    Well just heard of this Iceberg that killed my grandfather....Its pay back and few whale wars activist are coming for blood....or get the picture.... Iceberg better watch its back....its days are number....."Revenge!!!!!!!!!" lmao

    July 18, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Neil

    This happens every few years. So I'll just sit back and wait for the Global Warming nuts to claim this as another "FACT" of global warming when it is just a natural occuring event.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Max

    I'm happy to see they were not too eager to blame "Global Warming".
    I wonder what caused the break-offs seen "...150 years..." ago? Civil War campfires?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Civil War campfires? How absurd.

      I think you meant General Sherman burning the South to the ground.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Neil

    You can buy your "Carbon Credits" from me. Post your email and I'll send you an invoice. Don't wait, this offer won't last long.
    Now for a limited time only, you get TWO credits for the price of one. That's right, TWO and if you act now, I'll throw in a neat little folder to put them in so you'll know where they are.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. L

    What next?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jason

    Never forget. 4/15/12.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. # doug o 24

    Al Gore tried to tell us. Global warming is a real threat. Wake up world.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      I'm glad you agree.
      I have carbon credits for sale. See above post. Act now before it's too late.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Roger

    We need more coal fired power plants!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. phugoid

    all I have to say is........ So what!

    Its not a problem if ice breaks off.... did any of u whako Goreites complain when North America was under a mile of ice 100,000 years ago? Let nature do its thing.... NO BIG DEAL!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • What the...

      I complained but you whacko nutter Rush-lovers didn't listen because your heads were buried so deep into the sand that you lost your minds.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      What The...
      I have an idea. You can stop driving your car and heating your home with anything but wood. You need to make a difference and change starts with you.......

      July 18, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • TS

      The readers of this page would like to personally thank you for sharing the benefits of your extensive education in and study of climatology. Truly, yours is the most informed and well-reasoned comment I have ever read. We are all in your debt.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Reason & Logic

      To Neil: The burning of wood won't stop global warming. It is another fossil fuel. We need to invest in fuel cells, solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and wave power sources. And yes, we need to go to smaller cars and use them only for local trips (less than 20 miles). There should be reliable mass transit for any commuting/traveling that is more than 20 miles.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Reason & Logic

      Increased deaths from cancer, respiratory illnesses, less potable water, increased storm intensity, scarcity of food, mass migrations of people from low-lying areas to the interior, wars fought over water and food, larger and more virulent insects, diseases (malaria, smallpox, cholera, perhaps even the plague). You say, NO BIG DEAL? Yeah, RIGHT!

      July 18, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Reason & Logic
      That's all fine and dandy for city dwellers. But because the U.S. is so big, mass transit is not efficient in rural areas. Its cost vs. effectiveness is appalling. We should stop buying one car per person in a family. My son just got his Drives permit; he wants to buy an old beat up car for himself. I told him he can use my car when I’m not using it. Mass transit is great for large cities and most urban areas because most urban areas are becoming large cities.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. psion777

    Ice melts when it is too hot!!!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
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