NASA's just released some pretty dramatic satellite photos of the north branch of Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier from July 6 and 7--when an area of ice 2.7 square miles in size ( more than twice the size of New York City's Central Park), where the glacier meets the ocean, broke up overnight and the glacier retreated one mile inland. That's as much retreat in one night as the average for nearly two years.Thomas Wagner, cryospheric program scientist at NASA, commented:
While there have been ice breakouts of this magnitude from Jakobshavn and other glaciers in the past, this event is unusual because it occurs on the heels of a warm winter that saw no sea ice in the surrounding bay. While this exact relationship between these events is being determined, it lends credence to the theory that warming of the oceans is responsible for the ice loss observed throughout Greenland and Antarctica.
As you can see in this image, Jakobshavn has shown marked retreat since the start of Industrialization. The far black band on the left is 1851, with the brown line on the left 2009, before the latest retreat. Image: NASA.
Glacier Retreating One Kilometer Per Year Since 2000
The Jakobshavn glacier is located on the west coast of Greenland and has retreated more than 45 kilometers (27 miles) in the past 160 years, including 10 kilometers in the past decade alone. Estimates show that about 10% of all ice lost in Greenland comes through Jakobshavn--making it the single largest contributor to sea level rise in the northern hemisphere.
More on Global Climate Change:
NASA Satellite Data Reveals Arctic Melting Season Now Nearly a Month Longer
Greenland Glacier About to Lose Manhattan-sized Ice Chunk (Video)
Subtropical Water Melting Greenland Glaciers From Within