Petermann Glacier Loses Huge Chunk Of Ice
On August 5th, a large chunk of ice broke off from the Arctic's Petermann Glacier, creating a floating island that measures 100sq.miles or four times the size of Manhattan. While icebergs calving off the Northern Hemisphere's largest glacier is not an unusual event, it is the size that has aroused everyone's interest.
That's because the iceberg comprising of nearly a quarter of the 70-km long ice shelf of the Petermann Glacier, is the largest chunk to break, since 1962.
Some scientists and environmentalists are attributing the break to global warming, and have found another reason to predict a gloom and doom scenario, if something isn't done soon.
Others are not so sure since the temperature of the seas under Greenland's glaciers has only been monitored since 2003. Robert Bindschandler, a Senior Research Scientist at NASA says that iceberg breaking serves as a reminder of the dynamic nature of ice sheets. Describing glaciers as slow-moving rivers of ice, he says that when they flow into the ocean, like the Petermann Glacier does, it is natural for the ice at the edges to break and create new icebergs.
Chances are that this newly formed ice island that is currently floating into the narrow Nares strait, could simply fuse back into land if temperatures dip low enough. Alternatively, it could break into smaller pieces and disintegrate or, the worst case scenario - Keep floating as is, in which case it will become a hazard to the Eastern Canadian transatlantic shipping and offshore energy platforms, in a year or two. We shall just have to wait and see what how it all unfolds.
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