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. Woodoo

    OMG there's ice in greenland!?!?!?!?! (don't tell Al gore 😛 )

    July 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mike

    There is a god!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jt_flyer

    Wait untill the ice, thats not currently displacing water, breaks off. The ocean will begin to rise very quickly.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike

    The is a god

    July 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rigger morter

    Biggest drought in the US on record, let the earth recycle humans, there is no CO2 excesses!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Deion H.

    Well the experts did say this hasn't been seen since over a century. So obviously this isn't some unprecedented event. It may be global warming, it may not. But it's happened before so I'm not trusting the latter.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    I'm just a lay person, but this is what I have learned from living in a very cold climate, inside the polar circle & watching ice melt every year! It takes both air & water temp to melt ice! Make a pitcher of iced tea & put it in your fridge! Covered, the ice melts slowly, uncovered, the process ecxellerates! W/ rising earth temp for 50-100 yrs & fluctuating water temps, I can see that causing eroding & stress in areas involving the ice itself! How porus is it, how many fault lines? Climate change is a real earth phenomenon, recorded through history, that happens every 150-250 yrs, or so! Question is: do we have an artificial influence on warming/cooling patterns, due to pollution??

    July 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Springbreakup

    Happens every year- first man made heat melts everything – then man made cold freezes everything! Ohhh the agony of it all.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rigger morter

    "Well the experts did say this hasn't been seen since over a century. So obviously this isn't some unprecedented event. It may be global warming, it may not. But it's happened before so I'm not trusting the latter."

    Its not global warming. It's happened before, but since science only goes back 5K years, nobody knows.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Rigger, you're an Ultra Maroon. Science goes back as far as mankind's interest in the environment around him. Read up on ice cores that are over 440,000 years old. When you consider that the current CO2 concentration is over 100 ppm HIGHER than it has been in over that 440,000 years, you begin to appreciate the magnitude of what mankind is doing to Mother Earth ...

      July 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rigger morter

    "Happens every year- first man made heat melts everything – then man made cold freezes everything! Ohhh the agony of it all."

    Ah, the good'ol days of the ice age, happens every year. What an idiot!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rigger morter

    "just a lay person, but this is what I have learned from living in a very cold climate, inside the polar circle & watching ice melt every year! It takes both air & water temp to melt ice! Make a pitcher of iced tea & put it in your fridge! Covered, the ice melts slowly, uncovered, the process ecxellerates! W/ rising earth temp for 50-100 yrs & fluctuating water temps, I can see that causing eroding & stress in areas involving the ice itself! How porus is it, how many fault lines? Climate change is a real earth phenomenon, recorded through history, that happens every 150-250 yrs, or so! Question is: do we have an artificial influence on warming/cooling patterns, due to pollution??"

    Mr. Scientist, the earths water temperature has risen 2 degrees in the last 50 years. The surface water won't cool and fall. Oh well, there goes the ocean currents. What an idiot!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. soupfork

    bunch of nerds with foolish input

    July 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sherri

    Google photos are not up to the minute photos. Some of my neighborhood and other areas are several years old. They don't cover the entire earth each and every day.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rigger morter

    How come all the idiots here think they are scientist?

    July 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greenland is 4 Greenies

    Well we should all do our part to cool the planet and set our air conditioners to MAX!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
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