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. Bufford T. Justice

    When did "Manhattan" become a unit of measurement?

    July 18, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. ignorant new yorker

    lighten up francis

    July 18, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. ignorant new yorker

    if every one with a freezer went to greenland with their ice trays and dumped them the problem would be solved

    July 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      Next time you have a thought ..... Let it go.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army

      Of course......problem solved 😉 .....

      July 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • gay guy

      Thank u, sooo true, IS THEIR A LEGAL WAY WE CAN KEEP RADICAL LIBS FROM VOTEING???? THEY ARE SOOO YESTERDAY IN THEIR DUMB THINKING PATTERNS

      July 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • gay guy

      And can one race blogging on here all the time PLEASE USE THE LETTER S SO WE CAN UNDERSTAND U, EXAMPLE, ( girl she be crazy, girl her man be crazy too) THAT should be, GIRL, SHE'S CRAZY, ECT, AND U PEOPLE VOTE, GOD HELP US ALL, WAS THAT POLITICALLY WRONG??????

      July 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JDUB

    Conservatives will claim global warming has been going on since the Ice Age – which they refer to as "the good old days"

    July 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • tjp44

      genius, look at global history, we are entering an "ice age", so politics have no place unless you get the facts correct!

      July 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • loverpoint

      Which it has, what they refuse to acknowledge is that during the 19-21 centuries carbon emissions and growing world populations have sped up the rate of warming and glacial melting.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. A Better Person

    "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....."

    Global Warming is a FACT. The question is whether or not it's man-made.

    However, man-made pollution is NOT a myth, nor is it a myth the damage carbon levels are doing to the oceans via the rising acidic levels. The plastic flotilla islands the size of Texas in the middle of the oceans are also not myths.

    Since man needs to lower carbon emissions to protect the oceans anyway, I fail to see your argument.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Say What ?

    @ gay guy : Sounds to me like your phone isn't the only thing that's tiny......

    July 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RA

    Opinions of average folks regarding climate change have no value. The ones that count are from atmospheric scientists and climatologists. Unless you have an advanced degree in these areas, please keep you opinions to yourselves. Thank you.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      hey RA you should take your own advise!

      July 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      RA,
      In general, I agree with you, although at the risk of sounding like an elitist. The nonlinear dynamics of the atmosphere are a technical domain best reserved for those with expert knowledge. Unfortunately, I believe that there are too many people, especially Americans (perhaps exclusively?) that challenge the most basic aspects of logic and scientific reasoning with their uninformed, ideological opinions that are based in fantasy. This is not only detrimental to a society whose foundation is supposed to rest upon mathematical and scientific literacy, but also detrimental to any hope of instigating real change to curtain further environmental degradation.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A Better Person

    RA,

    This is an open forum for everyone, including you, which could also be interpreted as proof of unimportance.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ancient Texan

    The ice melting has been going on since the day the "Ice age" ended. The last ice age that is, since scientist tell us it was the last of many, and that there will be more in time.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ignorant new yorker

    bufford t justice has a very good point.they couldn't have found a land mass twice the size of manhattan and said the glacier was the SAME size as that?

    July 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Say What ?

    @ Ra : Wow..... Do I detect an ubermensch complex ? You know what they say about opinions...... (at least, I presume you do, since you seem to know a lot...). Here is a hint, oh smart one : Everybody's got one. You can write the answer to the question on your name tag.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ignorant new yorker

    hats off to say what!

    July 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A Better Person

    "The ice melting has been going on since the day the "Ice age" ended. The last ice age that is, since scientist tell us it was the last of many, and that there will be more in time."

    Except scientists you speak of are surprised at just how fast the ice has melted over the past couple centuries and it is, after all, their jobs to research any connections the rapid melt may have with the industrial age and whether or not man can do anything to solve it.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HIDE BEHIND

    I guess Manhatten Island and Rhode Island are nice places and important to those who live there but why did science choose them as an unit of measure?
    Lay odds most people that live or traveled through either place has no real idea as to size,
    To not arouse the fringe anti science group into having a tizzy fit any official mention down to local weather reports has a mandatory escape phrase questioning global warming.

    Maybe climatologist are afraid all the antis hot air and aroused emotions would only contribute to the problem of melting glaciers.

    As to the matter of did we humans contribute to warming, that argument has been won by the deniers and makes not one whit anyways as most pro on the issue say we have already passed the threshold. and all national governments are rushing pell mell to increase that level into who knows where.

    The frogs in the pot have won the day, but for those who. in past heard "Come on in, the waters fine", once had someplace else to go, there is no way out left today.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorant new yorker

      what exactly are you hiding behind?

      July 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ignorant new yorker

    stupidity raises the global temperature ......this comment thread is proof

    July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
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