A NASA image shows the large chunk of ice breaking away from Greenland's Petermann Glacier. Credit: NASA
While the Senate, the White House, and delegates in Bonn at the international climate negotiations dither, Mother Nature keeps the hits coming. Russia is of course baking in record heat and now the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland has lost an iceberg of 87 square kilometers in size. For scale, the ice sheet is said to be 4 times the size of Manhattan.
A University of Delaware researcher has been tracking the Petermann Glacier, and in a news release he says that the ice chunk is the largest since 1962.
"In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland," said Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. Muenchow's research in Nares Strait, between Greenland and Canada, is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf.
Similar to the media coverage of the Russian heatwave and forest fires, the news accounts about the glacier have largely not included mentions of climate change. Is this cognitive dissonance, willful omission, or some other cause? Whatever it is, these events are in line with what climate models have shown will happen with rising concentrations of pollution.
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More on the Petermann Glacier:
Satellite Images Reveal Two of Greenland's Biggest Glaciers Are Losing More Ice