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. rigger morter

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

    Here here, I'l burn fossil fuel for that!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    Soon Greenland will be green again and the Vikings can recolonize it.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rigger morter

    "Wow. Something is definitely happening earth-wise. With the death of penguins and birds – and now this. Mother earth is speaking – I believe we should listen and pay attention!"

    I'm with you there Doc! Its a learning curve. But, if there is no detention, who cares...

    July 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rigger morter

    "Soon Greenland will be green again and the Vikings can recolonize it."

    There is a girl behind every tree in Greenland, woop!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nathaniel

    No Global Warming Here. There's just a 50 year high drought in the majority of the U.S., and Island-Sized chunks of ice breaking off in the Arctic. Definitely it's the work of polar bears...

    July 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lb309

    The last time the glacier retreated this much was 150 years ago. Its a good thing people in the 1860s cut down on their fossil fuel use and allowed the glacier to recover for a while.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PushingBack

    We won't switch to metric but we will invent new systems of measurement. Did you see it, it was 1/4 the size of Manhattan!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Genius

    Doesn't none exist

    In response to: CNN Comments
    Don't Lose hope though, there is something you can do... click here!

    Stop it. Global warming due to CO2 emissions is a joke, to keep secret that which is the truth. It's just not true. Sorry. If you want to know the real reason I will tell you, but first. Let me defunk this with ease as I'll remind you CO is a poison gas to humans, it will kill you to breath it, in fact you exhale it! CO2, is what you breathe, you can't live without it, that is the truth! Even at the highest elevations where man lives, he is not dying of CO or CO2. It is a well balanced transparent gas, it does not generate or retain heat when photon energy travels through it. It does not have any kind of ability to retain heat which is a build up and expansion of the molecule where electrons would eventually just fly off and give you Carbon and Oxygen, respectively. Also, there is no heat even one mile off the ground, It's one carbon and two oxygen atom's and when heated it fly's apart, and that's just like every other gas, that would give you fire(inferred photons) and more earth(carbon). In fact, if it's heated, but not to the point it fly's apart, it's energy would be immediately drawn off by the freezing temperatures of space. All Fact, so that ends that. Please continue, it's all just truth, real science, I promise you that.

    The real cause of earth generating more heat than usual is... Well..., first, let me remind you how earth heats itself. As you can't create magma under water, and under the ground with photons(from the sun) since they hit matter. Some energy is absorbed and the rest is repelled. Most photons repelled go back out into space or into your eye where the information that the energy wave contains is read by you, telling you the color and distance of the last thing the photon came from is for you. I'll also remind you we don't taste walls to tell color, so that is the temperature(color) of what you are looking at. That's just to nail down the information theory for you. Obviously you eye didn't super heat and melt, and the ground isn't molten either. The super hot molten stuff is under it! So the heat came from below! The sun's rays, barely permeate the ground, and at night, that energy is eventually all gone. It get's cold right? So let me explain what science still has yet to admit to you. Actually, we've only recently been able to prove this, so you're just likely not a scientist, please remember science will only tell you facts, for anything else we suggest you turn to religion, that's what it's for.
    Earth has a solid, mostly iron core, easily proven since the planet has a magnetic field. However, iron is not a magnet, true. So… Magnetism, for the non-scientist it's a bit of matter whose gravity of atomic nuclease is so heavy, any more than a single atom forces orbiting electrons away from the individual nuclease of this atom when in any combination other than one. Forcing the orbiting electrons to orbit all the nucleus's of a collection of matter whose gravity is so great all the electrons from all atoms of this matter(e.g. iron), are forced out of nucleus orbit, to orbit all atoms which have clumped. So a cloud of electrons gives rise to magnetic-ability, thus a field of magic area around it that influences things. Iron can be made magnetic, simply apply a current(Roll in some electrons), or pass a magnet through it. Since the electrons are tightly packed by the immense gravity they are all basically touching, like you to the ground, creating any spin, spins the next, the other way and on goes this process creating two fields of energy.

    Earth has this core, and a large magnet orbiting which Earth spins rather fast under, every 24 hours(a day) the moon pulls on the oceans with it's gravity causing tides, it also has a magnetic field! Even a small magnet motor can and proves a coil(non-magnet) passing through a magnetic field generates power, this lends to the greatness of earth's magnetic field, and that protects us from the really nasty energy waves. Let's get back to generating heat… cause that's what we're all arguing about. Just as the moon's gravity pulls on the H2O of our ocean's causing a tide, it pulls on every electron that orbits every molecule and and atom on Earth. As you may have noticed only one side of the moon faces us all the time, it drags electrons from atom to atom through whatever atom the electron can travel through, some more than others and this is what generates heat, and the magma, leading to earthquakes, volcano's and even geothermal energy. When an electron travels through a resistor, it slows, and generates heat. The primary ingredient in a resistor is clay. That is why we have a "warm" planet that is essentially… alive. It generates it's own magnetic field and heat simply because we've got such a big moon that does not rotate.

    So… Why is it getting warmer? That is where the newest science comes in, and it is because of a rather new sub-atomic particle we've discovered called a neutrino. This is a electron that has decayed into a neutrino, it's worth noting it also has charge. We test and detect neutrino's when they hit a dense water molecule and create a spark of light in the dark. That being said, a spark denotes a pretty big discharge of energy. We've dug down miles and put large tanks deep under ground and still these neutrino's are detected and that is because they are so, so, so, so very small. A fraction of the size of an electron these sub-atomic particles pass through everything… you, me, the ocean, earth's crust, nearly everything, but… a solid iron core of this planet? I think not, much less liquid metal and rock? No, that stops a few of them, thus… additional energy is added to Earth as heat since all energy absorbed from these sub-atomic particles simply generates heat, which creates more magma, radiating more heat into the crust, the oceans etc, etc.

    Why now? Well, as a astrophysicist I'll simply say, right now… we(earth and solar system) are flying through a very large cloud of neutrino's in space. In fact, here's a little secret that will blow your mind, I dare you, you'll be proving me right! There are serious consequences to that... If you just look out a window on a decently lit day and rest your eyes on a focal point, adjust your focus a bit and you'll see what looks like shooting stars or pure light flying right by. Through you actually, and yes, that is a neutrino flying right through your eye ball, you detect it because your eye is actually a photon detector and since a neutrino is a decayed electron it has charge, and since we're moving through a cloud of them, and you are actually moving faster than the neutrino. So they are easy to see when flying through a cloud of them as any movement generates energy so you see them, they have charge so a photon is generated.

    Don't worry to much though… we'll be out of this neutrino cloud eventually… lucky for us, they all collect in just one place in our the milky way galaxy. Believe me when I say, there are cycles to everything in astrophysics. That is exactly why everything is predictable! You just have to get to the truth...
    You can thank the bible for the history, it's not God's fault, they didn't have the science and technology to have real understanding. It is the will of my sun god you click the link below.

    Don't Lose hope though, there is something you can do, in fact it may be all you can do.
    Don't think for a second this is about money, in five months it won't exist.
    Your purchase is padded, so we can make more than we need... Our mission is to save as many as we can!

    July 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      Have you submitted a scientific paper on your pet theory to Geophysical Research Letters, or some other reputable journal for peer review? If so, was it published? Do keep us informed as I am sure the worlds scientific community is waiting with excitement to read about it.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • youidiot

      you are an idiot or a paid troll

      July 19, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Dude, you don't have a clue. It should be intuitively obvious even to the most casual observer that Thou Speaketh Falsely. Your understanding of what keeps the earth warm is completely false; your efforts to explain the necessity of CO and CO2 to human existance is fatally flawed. Apparently, you don't understand the Krebs Cycle. Take the time to actually read the science behind ice cores and you may begin to understand ... to comprehend ... to fathom. And by all means, submit your diatribe to a reputable peer reviewed journal and see how quickly your "concepts" are shot down ... in flames ...

      July 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dowdotica

    no ice on the north pole? no ice on the south pole? hmmmm, just how did the dinos die?

    July 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Luis

    So is it TWICE bigger than Manhattan or FOURICE bigger than Manhattan?....

    July 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ignorant new yorker

    manhattan to the 2nd power=giant ice cube

    July 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |

      How many times do you think they will be playing "Day after Tomorrow" on TV?

      July 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 0rangeW3dge

    "Obama"'s FAULT

    July 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard

    Stop trying to link individual events with some big global warming event. Right now, the cabal is trying to say the heat wave in the U.S. is proof. Well, how about the devastatingly cold winter Europeans went through last year? How about the FOUR cold summers N. American had in the past 7?? Not to mention, now every story about every storm is vastly blown out of proportion, solely because nowadays everyone with a cellphone immediately posts video to the web.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      That is because Global Warming does not mean overall warming temperatures it means more often extreme weather events. Stuff that should only happen once every 20 years may start happening once every 2-5yrs.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Let me clarify before I get yelled at. Some places will get hotter, but not all. It is not an even slate.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • weardo

      global warming cause extremes of both hot and cold

      July 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • hockeyguy

      for the THOUSANDTH's global climate change, not just warming. that means that weather patterns will be odd, records will be set (like they are this summer all over the US), extreme weather events will be more commonplace, and the average temperature of the earth will rise. get it together.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • hockeyguy

      for the THOUSANDTH's global climate change, not just warming. that means that weather patterns will be odd, records will be set (like they are this summer all over the US), extreme weather events will be more commonplace, and the average temperature of the earth will rise. get it together. gosh.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      Is this like that ross ice shelf nonsense where they scream about the same piece breaking off every few years like it's been doing for centuries?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • ATPMSD

      The biggest mistake the scientist made was to call it "Global Warming" – that was and is a very bad term. What is happening is rightfully called "Global Climate Change" which results in changes to both temperature and weather.

      July 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. ignorant new yorker

    how did this become about obama?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ignorant new yorker

    they will play the day after tomorrow so many times it will fill up manhattan twice

    July 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
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