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. Scott Ryan

    If that much ice is there, is it in anyway keeping earth's core cool. so it stops it from heating up out of control.

    That's a lot of cold ice, that must stop the Earth's core from heating up more and more.

    If all that ice goes then the sea heats up, then there is no more massive cold bag of ice cooling the inner core, that means the earth will over heat faster and faster. RUNAWAY CORE..

    July 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Do you understand anything about this planet you're living on? Conditions at the surface do not impact the core, period. The core is heated by radioactive decay. The ice disappearing (including the Ross Ice Shelf which, contrary to an earlier post, is NOT disappearing and reappearing every year) is a direct result of warming temperatures and changing ocean currents. Once the North Atlantic Converyor shuts down, Europe will feel the ramifications in the worst possible way.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. the 1 prophet

    I said this last week when I tolked  about the drought in the US today that a catastrophic   happening is on the way right now,..the earth is in trouble governments are not warning people so millions can be saved.     

    July 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Did you mention moving mountains, or anything
      about islands being underwater?

      I believe!


      Bless you,

      July 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Church Of The Poisoned Mind

      Stop it. This drought has been going on longer than a week. You are no more a prophet than I am The King of Siam. Peddle your nonsense elsewhere, and don't forget to take you meds with you. And use spell check.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ppd3066

    The experts can't seem to make up their minds if Al Gore is correct about Global Warning! My Worry for now! The size of Manhattan??? where is all that Ice and Water headed. What damage will it cause.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. the 1 prophet

    Most of you are in Daniel when the son will release the super flair u will burn ...

    July 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      I hope that was your phone auto correcting things – because it made no sense.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope


      Maybe not.


      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Zaechariah

      I think he's talking about a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), or a solar flare. Although a large solar flare wouldn't literally burn you; A super flare like he's most likely talking about, would overcome our magnetosphere and charged particles from the sun would cause an extreme amount of damage to our electric grid causing mass hysteria. The proof of concept is sound, as it happened in quebc in 1989 and in the United States and Europe in 1859.
      But yeah, please dont use a scientifically understood phenomenon to your self righteous, quite possibly religious advantage.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Church Of The Poisoned Mind

      Most of you are in denial. When the sun will release the super flair you will burn ...

      At least this is what I hope you were saying, because oblique biblical references would make even less sense.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ben

    Global warming is a done deal. We can all stop talking about if and all that sort of stuff and start talking about what to do when icebergs no longer exist.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      As soon as the "science" of global warming climate cartoons produce any useful predictions instead of just allownig people to emote about things that have just happened I'll take another look.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • CaptainRon

      Some scientists predict that the polar icecaps will be completely gone in 40 years... on Mars. Is that little electric rover causing all that havoc there? Maybe electric cars aren't so good of an idea?

      July 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. franklin

    Building officials across the US build ditches for what are called 50 year storms, meaning the drainage should handle all rainfall up to that limit. Unfortunately, 50 year starms are now happening every five years–and we have rainfall records for more than a hundred years that supported this section of the BOCA code (it needs revised, all blame set aside and regardless of the cause).

    July 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hope

    I think it's cool. The polar bears can migrate across the sea. But, do these ice islands raise the sea level? An island of ice... amazing.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ma & pa

    Yellowstone not sci-fi but rising and heating land over an immense known caldera. Ash clouds causing global winter and acid rain might cause a little distress, but CO2 would be a blip in that mess. But wot duz uz dum ppl no? Do the research or keep distracting with littler worries. O ya, da wrld iz flt tu.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ms.2cents

    How about thinking about these things over lengths of time longer than our own life span? It's completely normal for dramatic changes to the earth, whether sudden or drawn out, given time. Geez

    July 19, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    Warming good ice bad. Anybody remember the agricultural and therefrom cultural benefits of the medieval warm period? I guess it doesn't' matter that it was warmer then to people who need a an impending disaster to help them emote their science in the direction the need. Stop hugging ice, learn to let go. The ice caps will clear again even if every source of carbon on earth (which would have to include the earth itself) were eliminated because it happens regularly.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. TheGreenMan

    Why is "Manhattan" being used as a benchmark of iceberg scale? For those who have no desire to visit or research America, let alone visit New York, the comparison is meaningless.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. the 1 prophet

    there will be 2 major catastrophic events,  a bursts bauble of solar energy has escaped from the solar magnetic field and its orbiting the earth  increassing tenperatures as it gets closer.  Glciets will melt like butter in a pan, oceans will rise, once in contact with our atmosphere it will egnite to consume all our oxygen, thereafter the earth will burn , oceans will boil , in days leaving the earth to a black molten planet . 

    July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      How about you take a high school chemistry class? There's a reason that burning is called oxidation and that reason is clearly lost on you. Please take the class.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • DUH !! Gimme the ball coach !

      So, do I have time to go to the bathroom ?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • BasicKnowledge

      Solar energy, you mean the Em spectrum? Light cant orbit a planet, gravity is not strong enough to pull it in. Only a blackhole can do that.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • davonskevort

      Everybody please read this message and take the hint... LEARN HOW TO SPELL BEFORE YOU POST OR YOU END UP LOOKING LIKE A BACK WOODS IDIOT WHO NEVER GOT PAST THE 2nd GRADE. Regardless of your message, spelling shows your educational standing.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NITTI

      Dude your a rock with lips.....that can't happen..LOL....

      July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      if what you are saying even exists why wouldn't it fall into an orbit around the sun like all the other heavenly bodies in our cute little solar system?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      listen to nitti!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave in Ohio

      Nurse! The prophet is loose again!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      Light orbiting the earth?

      Yeah buddy... Pass the J

      July 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lord Farquaad

      Dear 1 prophet,

      Please drink the Kool aide! Oh yeah.... I am talking to you.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lord Farquaad

      if we launch you into space, could you stop it? My mom said she would raise the money to get you there.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • none

      You need fairy dust.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Winston5

      Easy there, Chester. Might wanna crack a brewski.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • bsdudeus

      Had your fun pills today I see.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. the 1 prophet

    there will be 2 major catastrophic events,  a bursts bauble of solar energy has escaped from the solar magnetic field and its orbiting the earth  increassing tenperatures as it gets closer.  Glaciers will melt like butter in a pan, oceans will rise, once in contact with our atmosphere it will egnite to consume all our oxygen, thereafter the earth will burn , oceans will boil , in days leaving the earth to a black molten planet . 

    July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Lord Farquaad

      The only burst of anything is going to be from the electrodes on your head during shock treatment.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chops

      HOLY COW! Go put your head in the sand! We'll let you know when it's safe to come out!

      July 20, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. the prophet

    you talking to me!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. the prophet

    a burst of energy from the son trapped in a bauble escaped the son magnetic filed thence orbiting the earth, contributing to the recent high temperature fluctuations throughout the US especially where drought is wide spread. Furthermore contributing to the glaciers to melt like butter in a pan. Eventually it will reach the earth atmosphere igniting it consuming all of our oxygen, seas will rise and biol, the earth will burn an turn into a molten planet.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      a little too early to get drunk don't you think?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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