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. Nathan

    The end is near.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • David1958

      It is, but it has nothing to do with ice islands in the sun.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • arthur uzo

      We were WARNED. 2012

      July 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Surf's Up

    After a few more years of climate change Greenland will be a popular tourist getaway for sunny beaches and surfing.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • australopithecus

      Yes, and Manhattan and you will probably be under water!

      July 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Da Yooper

    59 square miles equals about 95 square kilometers not 150.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      No, it's 151 square kilometers. But thanks for the demo on Amarica's failed education system.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dev K

      Actually it is squared (sq miles) so 52 x 1.6 x 1.6 gives you 150.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      Hey Da Yooper, check your math. 59 square miles is exactly 152.8085 square km.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      That's right. 1+1=2 and that's what you get, 2 carbon credits for the price of 1. Buy now before they're out.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      No, it's 150. 1 sq mi. = 1mi*1mi = 1.6km*1.6km=2.56 sq. km. 59*2.56 = 151.04 Don't correct math if you can't do it yourself...

      July 18, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Wrong. 59 mi is ~ 95 km. 59 sq mi is ~ 150 sq km. Take square root of 59, then convert to km, then square again. Is ~150.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      "Amarica" doesn't seem to have the only troubled education system...

      July 18, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Wow, so many math giants. No wonder economics are jacked up. I'm going to pick 8, because no one else has. 59 sq mi is 8 sq km.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • TS

      Actually, 59 square miles equals about 153 square kilometers. 1km – 0.621mi, so 1 sq km = 0.621^2, or 0.3856 sq mi.

      59/0.3856 = 153

      July 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • endearingswan

      1.6 kilometers per mile means 1.6*1.6 (or 2.56) square kilometers per square mile. So 59 square miles amounts to about 59 * 2.56 or 151 square kilometers.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Dum As Rocks

      I dont know, i was looking at the picture,
      seems like an inch and a half to me.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • JayJ7

      No it does not. You are thinking of the linear conversion ratio not the area conversion. I'll leave out the snide remark (sort of)

      July 18, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. merkong

    my testicles hurt.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |

      why..........why do your testicles hurt? please explain to me hahaa

      July 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JohnQPubliqu

    Just the earth going thru a climate cycle, folks. Nothing new here as we presently are coming out of the last ice-age. For those of you that are drinking the Global Warming Kool Aid (# doug o 24), check out some of the other warm periods of earth history. So, keep your heads buried where they will cut down on methane gases escaping into the atmosphere.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • bjohns23

      Methane comes out your ass – just the way you talk.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • watergirl

      And what drives these natural cycles?

      July 18, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • TS

      Do tell us, what is your educational and professional background in climatology? Are you perhaps self-taught using many hours spent listening to Fox, Limbaugh, and vein-popping Tea Partiers? Crawl back in your hole.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      If you read more about the subject you would know that the earth has actually been going through a slight cooling trend for about 2,000 years. That is until we dramatically increased the CO2 level in the atmosphere and heated things up.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • capitan

      Yeah but then their buttes will be sticking in the air, releasing methane gas, not their mouths? Nevermind...

      July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. stormchaser

    "Naysayers"...the bible foretold of Naysayers, and all the situations happening right now in our world, the storm is no longer coming....IT IS HERE.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Macmaven

    Don't worry. The environment is completely fine. Now let's go drill something.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Don't you mean drill someone?

      July 18, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Equorial

    I agree that it is normal for moving glaciers to "drop ice" into its 'edge waters' but I do not agree that it is normal for 60 square-mile "islands" of it to cleave away from such a massive coverage of ice! This "deep cleaving" is caused by the penetration of light that USED to be reflected away from Earth by its atmosphere ...except now, the atmosphere has changed ...and if you have not yet noticed, everything is getting drier and drier because it's getting hotter (and hotter, and hotter). I could care less what happened 100 million years ago. I want to ensure I have H20 at least once daily, and beer for my horses. 🙂

    July 18, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    The evidence for climate change is absolutely undeniable. The evidence that climate change is anthropogenic is not completely conclusive, although the global temperature rise is generally consistent with that predicted by climate models. The world is a complicated place and it is very difficult to prove there is not some other cause to the warming. The question you have to ask yourself is this: "Do you feel lucky?"

    July 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Marvin


      ... although the global temperature rise is generally consistent with that predicted by climate models....

      Considering that those climate models were very very carefully tweaked to match the current set of historical data, it is not a big surprise that it matches the historical data!
      The true test is how their predictions match future events.
      And the tally so far for climate models' predictive power is... abysmal! Not a single one has lasted more than a decade.
      Unfortunately, current science is not even quite up to the task of explaining climate in hindsight, never mind predicting it.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Equorial

    Make that 150 square kilometers to be accurate folks. My apologies for 'dual posting'.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. evan

    the researcher specifically says it is too early to tell whether this is caused by global warming. Funny how you all missed that.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      Clearly the researchers are honest. Unlike those who choose to deny the known facts.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Al

    Mother natures way of helping to do away with Hurricanes, by keeping the Atlantic waters cooler so they have a hard time forming.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chris S

    What people are failing to see is that there is a wooly mammoth frozen in this ice block

    July 18, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. BCW - NYC

    I won't live long enough to see the ocean rises up. Sorry children and grand children. You have to deal with consequences of what the adults do nowaday. Learn swimming is a start.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby Bankston

      At least we're not as bad as the dinosaurs, those selfish overgrown lizards. When they ruled this planet they heated it up so much the whole globe was a tropical climate. No ice anywhere. They didn't care how many CFC's they emitted, in fact they laughed about it. Serves 'em right that now they're coal. So they continue in death to injure this planet.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Umm

    I love when people joke about they won't be around to see what really's just not going to take that long folks. Most of us will get to see...and then we will cry.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tobin

      Totally agree. People act like this is some kind of joke.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • wang

      Right, because crying solves everything.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
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