A huge chunk of ice broke off from a Greenland glacier. Global warming has been destroying this area for decades

2010 - 07 - 13
A huge chunk of ice broke off from a Greenland glacier. Global warming has been destroying this area for decades

A huge seven-square-kilometre block of ice broke off from the Greenland Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier and is drifting away from the original mass. The entire event was captured in images by the American National Aviation and Space Authority (NASA), as the Spanish El Mundo Daily reported.

Teams of researchers from the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center in Ohio, USA, and Polar Geospatial Centre in Minnesota have been tracking satellite images to check for changes in the ice layer and glaciers in Greenland. On July 6, they noticed a block of ice breaking off.

“Although ice blocks of this size have broken off from the Jakobshavn and other glaciers in the past, this time it is unusual, since it is happening right after a warm winter during which no ice was formed in the surrounding bay. The theory is that ocean warming is responsible for the ice-melting in Greenland and Antarctica,” explained Thomas Wagner of NASA’s Cryospheric Sciences Program.

Researchers wish to use images from various satellites, including Landsat, Terra, and Aqua, to get a broad overview of the changes recorded in the ice cover at both poles. Already in the days preceding the breakaway, the team received images from the DigitalGlobe satellite that showed the emergence of large breaks and cracks.

The Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier is located on the west coast of Greenland and has decreased by more than 45 kilometres in the last 160 years, of which ten kilometres has disappeared in just the past decade. As the glacier decreased in size, it also split into two parts – northern and southern. A huge block separated in the northern part over the past week.

“Greenland is one of the most affected areas in the world as a result of climate change. However, the effects of melting glaciers will be felt by the people on the whole planet, as they contribute significantly to the worldwide rise in sea levels,” warned Director Dalibor Dostal of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

Scientists estimate that more than ten percent of all the glaciers that break off in Greenland come from Jakobshavn. It is thought that this glacier is the largest contributor to the rising sea levels in the Northern Hemisphere.

Photo: Pixabay

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