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. Barry G.

    At what point will the narrow-minded conservatives admit that global warming is a reality, and that we played a role in causing it?

    Or will they just stubbornly refuse to admit that they were wrong?

    July 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • dc

      Why do you stubbornly maintain that you are right? You read the same "cooked" numbers we have.....
      Honest scientists (and an honest Al Gore) would lend something to the mix......

      July 18, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • alboze

      Of course global warming is real; it has been happening since the last ice age.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • roger

      When it affects them directly. Which with weather is almost never something you see. Which means it will take many many isnances, so many that even their small minds cant deny it.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • pawan


      July 18, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      When will the tree-huggers finally realize that they were scammed and get down on their knees and apologize for all the bad things said about skeptics?

      July 18, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Of course Global Warming is real and natural, the Earth has been oscillating between glacial and interglacial periods for 1,000,000 years. Man Kind is not the cause.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Entire Republican Party

      OK they are wrong, NEXT!

      July 18, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Riteaidbob

      At what point do idiot Liberals realize they are being scammed by the global warming fanatics?

      July 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      Well, you are talking about the same faction that tend to believe in Intelligent Design? That the world is only 6,000 years old?

      Yeah, ummm... Judging from recent history (recent meaning the last 30 years), my assumption is that they will keep believing whatever they want, and keep shoving it into public policy, despite reason, evidence or fact.

      Especially if it help them and their big oil buddies make a buck off of honest, hardworking people.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dismayed

      What a crazy world. Liberals want to conserve natural resources and conservatives want to use every morsel to make sure they have all the money and power safely under control. It is too bad that most of the old farts won't live to see it. I am glad I won't either.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eddie2010

    Glaciers are retreating, like they have in the past 100,000 years. In other news, water is wet.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      You obviously know very little about the climate over the last 100,000 years. Glaciers have advanced and retreated many times over that period. The Swiss "Ice Man" whose body was discovered several years ago is proof that the glaciers were advancing only 5,000 years ago. Otherwise he would not have been entombed in the ice.
      If the current rate of retreat had been constant the glaciers in Glacier national park, which were large just 100 years ago, would have disappeared completely hundreds of years ago.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • SonOfSteel

      'Retreating for the past 100,00 years?'

      Don't tell THAT to the series of ice ages in the past 25 – 30,000 years.
      Had you been there, you may have noticed a sheet of ice a mile thick- forming the great lakes.

      Thanks for playing. Now You can stick your head back into the sands of denial.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. dc

    Why not breakl it in to towable sections and take it somewhere it can be used for some good? I believe that is real water in solid form, as opposed to salt water.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jackson

      I believe salt water is also real water, just salty.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      nah jackson, its dehydrated water, you just add water to it.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. bondo

    omg ice melting during summertime? wow what a story.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. hammer

    Some people will always believe in a dooms day event.If someone could prove that the earth has alway been the same Temps. for billions of years I would believe it to.At one time all land mass was joined together and then it broke apart.Volcanoes are the greatest cause of CO2.What man produce doesn't come close.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      Nobody is arguing that the Earth has stayed the same temp for billions of years... except the other guy claiming that global warming is nonsense because the glaciers have been retreating for 10,000 years... right.

      Which mean, you just knocked over your own straw man... congratulations.

      The LAND MASSES broke apart due to seismic events, not temperatures... this one is called 'non sequiter'... look it up.

      Volcanoes do NOT produce more CO2 than man Though they produce larger bursts of CO2 at one time than we are capable of, the few active volcanoes together produce far less CO2 over all than man does.

      That one doesn't have a fancy name... its just wrong.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. glorydays

    It's just one of dem CNN hit thangs to convince us science is scientific.....

    July 18, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. bob

    Oh out and buy a chevy volt! Build a wind turbine in your backyard that won't break even for 15 years.

    Hold your breath as long as possible to reduce your carbon footprint. Better call up Al Gore for advice.


    July 18, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Neal

      What's laughable is your foresight. There is plenty of evidence that peak oil has been reached. Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      I know! Lets just make up some BS and claim it as fact!

      Then we can keep voting Republican (including Obama), and keep giving the big oil company tax breaks while those whining 'working class' people are still trying to find the jobs that we outsourced to India!

      Maybe Oldmobile will make a Super SUV that burns 10 gallons a mile! Then we can really feel good about sending US soldiers over seas to invade any other country that might still have oil!

      Freaking GREAT to be an American!

      July 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sachmo

    We should relocate the glaciers to the areas with the most drought.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      We should relocate the people in the drought areas to the glaciers that are losing the most ice.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A Better Person

    "And vis versa. No proof it exists either. All the scientists have been discredited and their studies have been shown to be a grant generating scheme."

    All the scientists have been discredited?

    Except that email scandal didn't involve "all the scientists". In addition, the results of the data involved in that study was later upheld by an independent panel.

    You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. In the future, please Google your thoughts before posting.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      Those who believe in global conspiracies involving thousands of scientists are truly foolish.

      They are in the same league as those who think the moon landings were a hoax and conspiracy.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      He did... he tried 'Global Warming Conspiracy', and found the obvious truth on Fox News...

      July 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ignorant new yorker

    i don't know about the rest of you but i have central air conditioning.if the globe warms up there will be palm trees on long island.wooohooo!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. JoeFL

    In our quest to prove "our side" is right we are missing the big picture. It seems no one can "prove" global warming. But wouldn't it make sense to err on the side of caution, just in case?
    Can we all agree that pollution is bad? Or would that be too much compromise for the conservatives at this point?

    July 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      That would require real regulation... so its a no-go.

      In addition, any idea that the rich (the oil companies) might not be acting morally or ethically, and might require being regulated to comply... would be called 'socialism' instigated by the 'liberatzi'.

      Besides, this regulation, if it were allowed to be effective, would take money away from the oil companies... who obviously have our best interests in mind... right?

      After all, these are the same people that fought to keep the Bush tax cuts for the filthy rich, despite a recession, and instead that the poor pay more taxes. For the poor to raise the amount of money represented by the Bush tax cuts would require a new 50% tax.

      All of that despite the *fact* that Exxon Mobile paid no taxes last year, despite record profits.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nick

    Global Warming is a myth perpetrated by the liberals.....As is the hole in the ozone layer. All BS cooked up by someone with an agenda.....

    July 18, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • skookumchuck

      The animals, birds, fish, insects, plants and glaciers are all reacting to a warming world. They are not fooled by myths. You are the one who has been fooled.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. 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. The terminus is where the ice ends. If after these 2 large break offs, we are just getting back to where it was breaking off 150 years ago, then was it hotter 150 years ago? Before man made global warming theory kicks in?
    In this area there was less ice 150 years ago? Global Warming Faithful: explain that!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      The problem lies not in the actual current temperature, but in the RATE of temperature change, and in its timing.

      Think about this, you expect the temperature to change over time, from winter to summer, right?

      What would you think if the temperature jumped from freezing with snow on the ground to 110 degrees in about a week... all in the middle of the Thanksgiving season?

      You could argue, well, heck... it hit that temperature last July! Must be ok!

      But that would be foolish.

      Temperatures rise and fall slowly and gradually through the year, just as they rise and fall gradually on a geological scale. In addition, we go through warm and cool periods, just like the year goes through summer and winter.

      We are supposed to be in a cooling period, just like Thanksgiving is. We are watching *rapidly* increasing temperatures... just like the example above.

      This is representative of the type of climate change we are watching, and it is showing signs of increasing... specifically, the temperature curve is following the CO2 curve almost perfectly, which would not happen if this were a natural cycle.

      Try looking up facts instead of simply coming up with some lay crap that just 'sounds good'.

      Nature does not respect your Republican sound bites.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gay guy


    July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Myto Senseworth

      You guys be nice or I'll have to kick your ice!

      July 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • gay guy

      That was the great funny comment of the day Myto, seriously

      July 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      if you kick it back towards greenland you will save us all!and your name already sounds like a super hero!

      July 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      why did you buy a small phone?

      July 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cherries

      Hey, I have ladies hands and I have trouble with those tiny buttons, too!

      July 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • kam

      proof read idiot... "i can't type cause my hands are big" waaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      July 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ignorant new yorker

    why did you use the caps lock on your whole message?must have been absent from school that day

    July 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • gay guy


      July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      except your phone

      July 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      how did you know my name is mary?are you stalking me?

      July 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • SilentThunderStorm

      'gay guy' likes it big? Who woulda thunk it?

      July 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      At least 10.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      Using all caps when doing email is considered screaming. It is common knowledge. So please don't scream at everyone. You alienate your readers...

      July 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      you tell him sherri

      July 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      good luck with that

      July 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Well (!!!!!)

      I like my mountains real big!


      July 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      I'm not Mary...

      But, I like my mountains real big!


      July 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Excuse me...



      July 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Welp... This is big!


      July 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dismayed

      HOW OLD ARE YOU 12?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
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