An enormous iceberg, reportedly larger than Manhattan, has split away from Greenland’s Petermann glacier this week, an incident scientists forecasted the previous autumn. Researchers have attributed the break to increasing ocean temperatures.
The chunk of ice parted from the glacier along the northwest coast of Greenland on Monday, representing the second main breaking incident for the glacier in the last 3 years. In 2010, a chunk of ice measuring around 97 square miles, nearly four times the size of Manhattan, parted away from the same glacier. The size of iceberg that split off the glacier this week was reported to be 46 square miles.
“The Greenland ice sheet is changing rapidly before our eyes,” said Andreas Muenchow, a University of Delaware associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering, according to the Washington Post. “The Greenland ice sheet is being reduced not just in size, but in volume. The big and broader climate change story is what’s happening all around Greenland.”
Muenchow added that the event is significant because the birth of the new iceberg has shifted the end point of the glacier further inland, a point where it has not been for the last 150 years.
In Sept. 2011, scientist Jason Box told OurAmazingPlanet that an emerging crack probably would break the glacier once the ocean becomes warmer during summer time. Box had said that he has seen the crack growing via satellite pictures, so the glacier’s chances of split appeared impending.
The suspended tops of glaciers, called ice shelves, operate as doorstops and when these abruptly fragment and wane or even cave in completely, the glaciers that nourish them speed up throwing away ice into the ocean and increase global sea levels.
Reports suggest that air temperatures in the area have reached more than 4.5 ° F or 2.5 ° C since 1987, a rate 5 times that of the rest of the world. However, Box believes that air temperatures are not very important.
“Air temperatures are not very important, because 80 percent of the melting of this glacier takes place from below, in the ocean,” he said.
According to scientists, even though iceberg birth is a usual, recurring process, but when the process expedites, it brings penalties.