Environment

Four-mile-long iceberg breaks off Greenland glacier in dramatic video

Four-mile-long iceberg breaks ...
Scientists have captured a four-mile iceberg breaking off the Helheim Glacier in Greenland
Scientists have captured a four-mile iceberg breaking off the Helheim Glacier in Greenland
View 2 Images
Scientists have captured a four-mile iceberg breaking off the Helheim Glacier in Greenland
1/2
Scientists have captured a four-mile iceberg breaking off the Helheim Glacier in Greenland
The calved iceberg would reach from lower Manhattan to Midtown in New York City
2/2
The calved iceberg would reach from lower Manhattan to Midtown in New York City

Many consequences of climate change can be imperceptible, but others can catch our eye in the most dramatic of ways. One such example is a monumental chunk of ice breaking off a glacier and washing into sea, something dramatically captured on video by a team of scientists in eastern Greenland last week.

"Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential," says David Holland, the leader of the research team and a professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics. "By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance."

The team was observing the edge of the Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland's largest outlet glaciers and the fastest flowing glacier along the eastern edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Scientists have been keeping a close eye on the frozen river as a key indicator of global warming and sea-level rise, with its front retreating around 2.5 miles (4 km) between 1998 and 2013.

Holland and his team managed to capture dramatic footage of the process by which this retreat takes place, something known as calving. The video shows a four-mile (6.4-km) iceberg, which the scientists point out would reach from lower Manhattan to Midtown in New York City, breaking away from the glacier and washing into the sea, .

The calved iceberg would reach from lower Manhattan to Midtown in New York City
The calved iceberg would reach from lower Manhattan to Midtown in New York City

"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's going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change."

The event plays out over 30 minutes, though the video has been condensed to around 90 seconds and shows a front-on angle of the glacier's edge, followed by a perspective further down the fjord. Check it out below.

Source: New York University

NYU Scientists Capture 4-mile Iceberg Breaking in Greenland

15 comments
Stomps
I'm sure I saw an acorn go by...
Anne Ominous
Ridiculous to blame this on "climate change".
In fact, Greenland's ice mass gains have been HUGE this year, and it is experiencing a near-record-low melt season.
As a result of this EXCESS ice, you get faster flowing glaciers and icebergs calving off. That's how this stuff works.
https://www.dmi.dk/uploads/tx_dmidatastore/webservice/b/m/s/d/e/accumulatedsmb.png
CraigAllenCorson
Anne Ominous Let's talk again when florida is under water.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
More snow will raise the temperature at the base of the glacier and cause faster motion.
Anne Ominous
CraigAllenCorson:
The areas of Florida that are experiencing above-normal "sea level rise" are actually subsiding. The Miami area, for example.
It's not sea rising (any faster than before, that is). It's land sinking.
Anne Ominous
I would ask people to look at the graph I linked to above.
In order for the Greenland ice melt to meet the seasonal norm (i.e., the mean from 1981-2010), it would have had to have lost 600 billion tons more ice than it actually has this year.
600 billion tons is a lot of ice.
That's equivalent to more than 530 billion cubic meters of seawater.
Anne Ominous
Correction. 600 Gigatons total accumulation this year. Not 600 Gt above normal.
It's only about 100 Gt above normal.
So that's (conservatively) about 88.3 billion cubic meters of seawater.
ShauneS
CraigAllenCorson Global Warming alarmists have been predicting flooding forever, with 0% success. Wasn't the Arctic supposed to be ice free by 2013, and wasn't NYC supposed to be flooded by now? Please...
Johannes
Anne Ominous You quote the Surface Mass Budget (SMB) but not the Total Mass Budget for Greenland. As the video shows, calving can reduce the mass of the ice sheet by millions of tonnes in one event, so perhaps don't cherry pick the information you want us to "believe". And another thing, the data you referred to is all based on modelling, the favourite enemy of the climate change skeptic. This comment is the result of a five minute search - try it some time. https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-greenland-ice-sheet-2017
ljaques
Remember the last time they tried to sell us an AGWK alert for the ice shelf in Antarctica? Remember how we learned that it took over 4 years to happen, and OBTW, the land there is rising. Oops. I'd love to see time-lapse video of that glacier for the past decade or so. (Gosh, looky there! It calves all the time. How about that!) // C'mon, Alarmists. Now that 99% of humans are on-board the "leave a lighter footprint" concept and lifestyle, things are getting better and better. Relax and smell the healthier roses (thanks to more CO2.)