Huge Ice Sheet Breaks Off Greenland Glacier

Global warming? Maybe yes, maybe no, says researcher
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2010 12:36 PM CDT
There's no photos yet of the new iceberg. This is a 2007 file shot of a fjord near Ilulissat, Greenland. The nearby Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a U.N. heritage site, has thinned in recent years.   (AP Photo/Michael Kappeler, pool, file)

(Newser) – A massive chunk of ice has broken off one of Greenland's biggest glaciers. "Chunk" may not be the word—it's 100 square miles, or four times the size of Manhattan, says a University of Delaware researcher. It's also the biggest piece of ice to—in the scientific jargon—"calve" in Arctic waters since 1962, reports Wired. It came off the Petermann glacier, which is now about 25% smaller than its previous 43-mile-long self.

Delaware's Andreas Meunchow, however, isn't about to get dragged into controversy, notes Reuters: "Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming," he says. "On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn't." Thousands of icebergs are formed this way each year in Greenland waters, writes a National Ice Center official in the Washington Post, but this one's unusual because it's so big—it's more typical of those in Antarctic waters. As Meunchow puts it: “It could also keep all US public tap water flowing for 120 days.”

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