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. joe

    “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,
    ----------
    What, the end of the glacier used to be here 150 years ago, meaning it has been building for the past 150 years and now is back to where it was 150 years ago?

    I want a Congressional investigation on the global cooling of the last 150 years. Alternatively I want a Congressional investigation on the global warming that ended 150 years ago.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    I say good riddance. I was never a fan of that Petermann Glacier anyway.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      now thats funny

      July 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Baird

    "You all know that there is no way any of us can do anything to stop pollution."

    Really? Why is it that we have cleaner water and air then sixty years ago?

    July 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      We do? Name one river on the east coast that does not have a fish-eating advisory. And have you heard about the 1,000 square mile island of plastic floating in the Pacific north of Hawaii?

      July 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mistamista

      Oh, my. You might want to do a few tests of your own. Working in the field of water pollution, I can tell you point blank that your water, regardless of where you are on the planet is NOT cleaner than it was even yesterday. Filtering, chemical "cleansing" and other scientific procedures are not making water "cleaner". They make it CLEARER and MASK TASTES that we'd prefer not to have in our potable water, but NOTHING actually CLEANS the water like Mother Earth...period!

      July 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • gtpooh

      Exactly, Mark Baird. I have a hard time getting across to my young friends what it was like 50 years ago. I grew up in Ohio. The soot from the steel mills and chemical companies actually pitted the window sills. There were huge lakes of chemical waste, just out in the countryside. And acid rain. We have made HUGE strides. We have a long way to go. There is SO much more to do to reduce our negative impact. As I often say, dense mega cities, vertical farms . . all in the center of the continents away from hurricanes, earthquakes and the naturally occurring rising of the oceans would go a long way in helping us adapt as a culture to coming climate change and our increasing population. We CAN adapt. We MUST adapt. NOW.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aesculapius

      do we?

      July 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will S

      Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1948 started it but the Clean Water Act of 1972 is the primary means to drinkable water.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mattski

      Yeah. Anyhone remember the Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969? Not sure what mistamista is talking about.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan, TX

      40-50% of rivers and lakes in the US are too polluted for swimming or fishing. But once we get rid of the regulations stifling business we should be able to get that up to 80% (20% will be protected because rich people live near them).

      July 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny

      Mark Baird from FL?

      July 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NY Veteran

    There is no such thing as Global Warming. George Bush and his Creationist Scientists said so. So as the water level reaches your neck, ask yourself (and Pat Robertson) what sin you offended God with to deserve such a fate.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mj

    When he says 'not seen in at least 150 years', he is referring to the fact that data on this ice sheet only goes back 150 years, so he cannot make claims about any earlier times. He makes clear in another article (from the CBC) that this has not been observed in the data they do have.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. upside down

    Here's hoping soon that your last sight is a flash from a muzzle.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. I Think

    you need to keep your day job and let comedy writing be *that little dream that never came true*.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bman

    Every time I think of twits, I think of you...

    July 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SprayinAK

    Hmm, sounds like someone is super obsessed with Sara Palin

    July 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. my bologna has afirst name

    Too early to tell if its global warming? Well then lets just wait and see what happens, I mean heck what's the harm eh??

    July 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • PaulieJ

      Earth's climate has warmed and cooled for thousands of years and much MUCH longer than man's tiny little insignificant period of industrialization. Data taken from ice cores measuring back some 400,000+ years shows temp spikes and valleys on a roughly (give or take 10-20k years) 110k year cycle.
      Would our overall quality of life be a bit better if we polluted less and burned through less natural resources? Probably so. Is it doing that going to stop the next coming ice age. Not hardly.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. doughnuts

    Never ever post a comment about anything remotely scientific. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about, and the way you babble on, it makes people tink you are crazy.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rigger morter

    I don't see my post, can I say TASS here?

    July 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BobZemko

    Have some Soylent Green and calm down !!!

    July 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. doughnuts

    Does it really matter if Climate Change is real or not?
    Do you believe that the supply of fossil fuels is finite? If so, why not encourage research into alternative forms of generating energy, or creating a usable liquid fuel, well befor it runs out? Less panic, less trouble, fewer economies collapsing.
    Kinda like that cartoon of the "Global Warming Summit" with the punchline "What if Global Warming turns out to be a hoax, and we create a better world for nothing?"

    July 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GN

    We are NOT passing through the galactic plane for another 10 million years or so. We are currently about 90 light years above the galactic plane and are still moving up and away from it. It takes about 15 million years from passing the plane until the next occurrence.

    The 26,000 years you are referring to is the precession of the equinox – a completely unrelated topic.

    The rest of what you typed is complete rubbish.

    By the way – I am an astrophysicist not some Wal-Mart greeter on his day off.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mema

      Based on your comment, you may want to reconsider the wal-mart position. Blah blah blah. I'm an astrophysicist, blah blah. 'Its too early to blame gl© bal warming' wth. Record breaking heat every year, droughts, and increased record breaking storms globally. Hello...Its hotter than a m© ther where I'm at. Jeez.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
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