July 17, 2012
Glacier loses ice island twice as big as Manhattan: Researchers
A glacier in Greenland has lost an ice island twice the size of Manhattan, scientists observed Monday.
The ice island broke off of the Petermann Glacier, Andreas Muenchow, an associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware, said Monday.
The break-off point of the 120-square-kilometre ice island has been visible for eight years, Muenchow said.
The Petermann Glacier connects the Greenland ice sheet to the Arctic Ocean and is located in northwest Greenland. In 2010, a large chunk estimated to be about 240 square kilometres calved off 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 said in a release.
"The Greenland ice sheet as a whole is shrinking, melting and reducing in size as the result of globally changing air and ocean temperatures and associated changes in circulation patterns in both the ocean and atmosphere."
On his blog, Muenchow said a Canadian Ice Service scientist first noticed the crack.