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. Albert

    Lets put a propulsion device to it and move it to where it can be mined.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      Excellent idea – it might have exposed a few coal deposits or other mineral deposits that can be developed and actually made into good paying jobs. Better yet, lets pass a stimulus program to put a wind turbine city on the floating flacier block – it doesn't need an users or power lines – we can pass a stimulus plan to construct this. So what if it melts in 4 years, obama will have bee re-elected and no one will care.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Actually, the Saudi Arabian government funded a study to determine if glacier ice could be use to meet their fresh water needs. Turned out that desalination was more practical and less expensive.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Canadian Observer

    Wow.... Suprised nobody has blamed Obama yet..... Definitely seems like something he would do........ According to Republicans, that is.....

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

      @Canadian. . . Wow, what an idiotic remark!! When are the people who post here going to start growing up??? You sound like you must be a 5th grader!!!

      July 18, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Observer

      @ Jack : I do apologize..... Was trying to keep my comment at the competency level of Republicans. I'm so happy for you that you were capable of recognizing a 5th grade level. School certainly paid off for you.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ugh

    Obama – "Look carefully at the air phot and you can see George Bush and Mitt Romney – they were responsible for this"

    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Trolling again?

      July 18, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Iceland is green and Greenland is icy! What's up with that?

    July 18, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • flat

      it was to confuse the vikings

      July 18, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. loloregon

    isn't it neat how it looks like it broke off at the same place the one two years ago did?
    Must be were it floats free enough to flex.

    On the other hand, I am sure that the "we're guilty sinner" crowd will use their "group think" and "noble cause" syndrome to support their delusions!

    LOL in Oregon

    July 18, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. REALLY!?!

    WOW! People will even bring this back to Obama. Just from what people are telling me that Obama is responsible for and can and can not do... I'm starting to think the guy has some sort of superhuman skills!

    July 18, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Anders Perillo

      Hey, why not? Dems blamed everything under the sun on Bush. What goes around comes around, byotches.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. GettingReal

    Too bad it is not man-made global warming. If it was, then maybe we can fix it. But since this is a course of nature, there is absolutely nothing we can do except wait patiently for the end.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. That one scientist guy

    While temperatures on the planet seem to be increasing, you cannot statistically say that Global warming is occuring. The number of days we have temperature data for versus the total number of days that the planet has existed with the current atmosphere is not statistically significant and is not a representative data set. At best you can say that climates are changing, and that its warmer than it has been since we have been meausring. However statistically there is not a large enough data set to make the conclusion of glabal warming.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Engineer

      Scientist Guy – Very well said. The facts are that humans have not been on this planet nor since they have been, collected enough data to presume to know anything about the history of planetary weather. Most climatologist use what data they can gather in order to "speculate" on what has happened in the past. I like the fact that Scientist Guy does neither agree nor disagree with either side. Todays weather events are different than in the short term past history. That is all we can factually say.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    OMG – do you really think that humanswho have only been around in the industrial age for an estimated 200 years would cause a change in the climates...WOW...lot of silly people out there...That does not even represent a blink of an eye the exisistence of the earth. My god, How does Gore and the left brainwash people....Lots of weak minds out there

    July 18, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Robb

      you obviously don't know anything about science I don't think people who know anything about science have "weak minds". Depending on what you do to the earth it can be less than 200 years to do something significant to the earth. Look at an astroid it can instantly create death to almost everyt living thing on this planet and that happens within seconds and the lingering damage can happen within days. If you do large amounts of damag in a systematic way over a long period of time like creating billions and billions cubic tons of air pollution on a daily basis you don't need 200 years to have a significant impact on the Earth.

      In fact similar things that happened on this planet before and it took much less than 200 years. At one point there were large volcanoes that it made a huge amount of poison gas and it made the Earth's heat up over a very short amount of time. The climate on this planet was basically inhabitable for 98% of the living creatures on thiit planet and it happened over a much shorter time than 200 years. So yes it can easily happen. I think you should maybe stop name-calling and educate yourself. There is a difference between being liberal and educated. The people who care about this don't have any money at stake. They are scientists who only care about finding the truth. If you don't believe me go look up the yearly salary of the average scientist or look up the salary of the scientists that are doing most of this research they have absolutely no financial stake in what they say. However if you look at all of the the people who are saying that this is not an issue they interestingly have a huge financial stake in disclaiming anything that people say. I find it hard to believe that people still want to believe those who have a lot of money at stake over those who have absolutely nothing at state except for the truth

      July 18, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    I am sick and tired of ignorant people trying to teach us something when the educate themselves with television. I wish a scientist would tell everyone about the Ice Age again so these dumb dumbs can understand that our planet has a natural warming and cooling cycle every 11,000 years or so. That way we can all quit talking about global warming and get ready for the big freeze. Someone explain this please.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Roger smith

    the ice on greenland is left over from the last ice age.
    the ice would melt even if people didnt exist.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Canadian Observer

    @American Observer : So typical.... Think you can bully you're way out of everything..... You crack me up. LOL... and I DO mean LOL !!

    July 18, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. muhammad

    so after all al gore americas true president was right,thumbs up mr president

    July 18, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Texas

      "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,”
      So 150 years ago, there was less ice? Think about that. Clearly not man made warming 150+ years ago.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. Common Sense

    Wow the global warming whack jobs are out in force.You really need to study paleoclimitalogy.It's called a interglacial period aka the end of the last ice age.And should look at the last 1,000yrs of global climate

    July 18, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • rosie

      Thank you common sense. I have been trying to tell the global warmers this for years. Sure the planet is getting warmer. In 10,000 years it will get cooler again. No mystery at all.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      It is called thermodynamics and follows a proven mathematical formula. But your simpletons I’ll put it in simple terms- take a gallon of gas and sit it in your living room- does the temp raise? Now light that gas on fire does the temp raise then? Well physics- you know proven sciences says that heat doesn’t magically disappear but gets absorbed by it’s surroundings. Now think about how many gallons of gas alone we burn daily- tell me oh bright one where does all that heat go? It’s not rocket science add more heat than a system can dissipate and the system warms up. We have been burning fossil fuels at an exponential rate for over 100yrs- what do you think the earth can just absorb an unlimited amount of heat? The gas we burn is done by man not nature, so yes global warming is real and man caused- if you don’t believe that than you don’t believe or understand proven science.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      'Those global warming whack jobs" – That doesn't sound like something a scientist, professor, or educated person, would say or write.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Padraig

    Pretty impressive when you think of the size. They are still researching but I am not a big supporter of global warming. I do agree that the Earth has cycles that it goes through.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
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