Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Science | By

Enormous 4 mile long iceberg filmed breaking from Greenland glacier

Enormous 4 mile long iceberg filmed breaking from Greenland glacier

The results after the iceberg breaking away from a glacier would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City. An illustrated overlay of the iceberg's dimensions is available here (Credit: Google Earth, Courtesy of Denise Holland): http://bit.ly/2z8cctk. - "Catching as it unfolds, we can see its value".

It comes as scientists warn global warming could be even more disastrous than previously thought, bringing "unstoppable" sea level rises and scorching rain forests.

The remarkable timelapse footage of the phenomenon, also known as calving (the breaking off of large blocks of ice from a glacier), condensed the 30 minute process to just 90 seconds.

"Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise", adds Denise Holland, the logistics coordinator for NYU's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, who filmed the calving event. "The better we understand what is happening, the more precisely we can predict and plan for climate change", explains an employee at NY University, Denise Holland. Meanwhile, smaller pinnacle icebergs, which are tall and thin, can be seen calving off and flipping over.


The vast piece of ice that breaks away is described as a tabular iceberg because it is wide and flat. The latest calving event also suggests that ice sheet melting is taking place with increased strength and at a speed that no models have predicted before.

But there is much that scientists have yet to learn about how and why this large-scale breakage happens, which makes it hard to predict when glaciers will fall apart, and how much that glacier disintegration will affect sea levels over time, David Holland, leader of the research team and a professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, told Live Science.

Perhaps the most drastic and devastating effect of the sea level rise is that according to experts and satellite surveillance there are many more fractures and breaks going on not only in Greenland but in Antarctica as well, and this is completely certain when these glaciers are looked down from space.

The research team is now studying the forces behind sea-level rise-a development that has concerned scientists in recent decades because it points to the possibility of global disruptions due to climate change-under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is part of the newly announced $25-million International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, headed by the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council and the National Science Foundation, which will deploy scientists to gather the data needed to understand whether the glacier's collapse could begin in the next few decades or next few centuries.

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