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. ma & pa

    We are grateful to those who used their courage to prepare to, and in fact, walk on our moon. How much focus, foresight and courage do any of us have to think of how to prepare for survival in the aftermath of the Yellowstone Caldera eruption that is coming? That could wipe out all our efforts on anything except what we do to survive that one event. The earth doesn't care whether we live or die. Is it time to quit divisions along opinion lines and focus on how to prepare to endure an unstoppable event in these United States? Or is that as difficult to understand as walking on the moon? The key words are steady courage and cooperation on this Spaceship Earth.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dade Man

    Yellowstone Caldera eruption ??? dude you watch too much sci-fi

    July 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HELP


    July 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      yes...but we won't freeze to death

      July 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Coop

    "only five to eight years long — too short to establish a robust warming signal.”

    He says "Yeah, get back to when they're all gone."

    How's that for a robust warning !

    July 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. xfiler93

    ALGORE must have been there. heard he was putting on some weight.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bucktooth

    Such a joke!! If people really knew what is going on! Get in your car, drive 59 miles one way south, then 59 miles west, then, etc, etc..pretty big ice "chunk"! It's pretty thick also. Maybe it will show up by Mitt R's boat somewhere!

    July 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tdig

      dude it's 59 miles square, that means total square miles, not diameter... still a big chunk of ice

      July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • K Man

      Math much

      July 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Global Warming.. yes but not what you tinnk

      You do realize this was a lake at one time right? This is likely not global warming from fossil fuels being burned but rather the long cycles of Earth going thru cooler and warmer generations..

      July 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. T. Lee

    SEND THE PICTURE TO RUSH LIMBAUGH and all the other hired-guns decrying global warming !!!!

    Big wind-bag. Like he knows anything – being a college drop out his second year (give or take a few months either way).

    July 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HELP


    July 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark Lemire

    Seems that the Petermann Glacier will be renamed to the Petermann Steam Baths before anyone finally confirms these events are indeed caused by global warming.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rod V

    59 miles by 59 equals 3481 square miles. Instead driving about 7.5 miles by 7.5 will be closer to 59 square miles.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      no calculators....thats cheating

      July 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |

    Too bad the dinosaurs didn't have Al Gore.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ignorant new yorker

    manhattan is the smallest county in the u.s.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ram

    Is removing oil from the earth equals removing oil from the engine? Is there any study based on this direction? All I see is carbon content analysis after oil is burnt

    July 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TimRObhiLL

    What did the Earth do before there were people? Good thing we're here to save it!

    July 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it does it make a sound?

      July 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      The earth does not need us. It will do fine long after we are gone. Just as it did fine after the dinosaurs were wiped out.

      July 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. samirsaran

    Reblogged this on Samir Saran and commented:
    Is it to early to blame it on global warming

    July 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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