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.

Post by:
Filed under: Science
soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. Reno

    Whether or not you believe that global warming is man made or just natural law, are we all going to wait until the melted polar ice covers the tops of mountains before we take the necessary steps to stop everything we humans do now to cause additional warming, i.e. car exhaust, factory pollution etc?

    July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A Better Person

    "As to the matter of did we humans contribute to warming, that argument has been won by the deniers"

    You're talking politically, which has no scientific merit whatsoever. While there isn't yet a smoking gun to prove man-made global warming, most scientists agree that it's man-made, who base their opinions on decades of research as opposed to the political lip service with which you subscribe.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    Here's to Ben!!

    July 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bad2worse

    That is one big ice cube. All I need is some scotch to go with it.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • bad2worse

      and a big glass

      July 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ricciap

    Whether this particular event was caused by global warming or not, scientists now have evidence that our recent extreme weather is caused my MAN-MADE global warming. On July 10, 2012, hundreds of scientists from 48 countries released their annual State of the Climate report, which, for the first time in its history, shows that 2011 weather extremes are connected to MAN-MADE global warming. The scientists state that all greenhouse gases are on the rise, at the largest and highest levels they’ve seen since they’ve been keeping records. They state that they are not able to detect natural rises in greenhouse gases, that evidence shows that the rises are due to MAN-MADE increases in carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. And they state that global warming is accelerating.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • real american

      scientist made global warning was agreed on
      greenhouse gas -co2 is 4% now-has been has high as 18% in the past and didn't cause any temperature increase–if all gases are on the rise-are we going to have more than 100% soon-

      July 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • S-Hug

      This evidence of man-made global warming has been around since at least the 1970's. The big dirty oil and coal companies hire their own "experts" to massage the data and spin the truth so they can keep using our skies as an open sewer. If we lose our climate, the the economy, business and jobs won't matter. All of Earth will be third world — every man for himself.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • sfg

      Have you ever heard of a Milankovitch Cycle? How about previous glaciations and deglaciations? No, I didn't think so. Better read some real science.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ralph

    the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years,”
    ===================================================================
    Now you know why they aren't blaming AGW. Any claim that this is AGW is easily refuted by the fact this area was ice free some 150 years ago. Unless of course they are now claiming AGF (Anthropomorphic Global Freezing).

    July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doug Collins

    No stupid liberals! There's no such thing as global warming! (as he drowns in his Manhattan condo on the 3 rd floor)

    July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Middle Aged Gay

    "...brings the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years,”

    150 years...that doesn't sound so drastic...

    July 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Curious Geology

    I would want to see what is on the land underneath that ice that broke off...

    July 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. A Better Person

    Since we aren't 100% certain it's man-made, let's forget global warming for a moment.

    It's a scientific fact that CO2 emissions are increasing the oceans' acidity levels, which will eventually reach the point where life can no longer exist.

    Is that enough reason to lower emissions?

    July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nightsun2k7

    Even if global warming is a mith, who wants to keep breathing in all this crap and continue to watch cancer rates climb? I would have to say that even the far right should not have their hands up right now, but they probably still do. After all, who cares about cancer and other issues when you can have cheap gas to drive your over priced hummer.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lord Franklin

    Just the word 'glacier' makes me feel cooler!

    July 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AtTheEndOfTheDay

    Thers no global warmin, ye damn libruls! (puts air conditioning on high like everyone else, thus increasing power consumption to historically high levels and ironically accelerating global warming even more).

    July 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A Better Person

    "Thers no global warmin, ye damn libruls! (puts air conditioning on high like everyone else, thus increasing power consumption to historically high levels and ironically accelerating global warming even more)."

    ^LOL

    July 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mort

    What country has jurisdiction? We can make a floating winter vacation destination before it melts. Mr. Branson, whacha think???

    July 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20