In the early morning of Thursday, August 5, a vast 87-square-kilometer chunk of ice representing one-quarter of the Petermann Glacier separated from the main body of ice and became an island four times the size of New York’s Manhattan.
The rupture comes as scientists report that the first six months of 2010 have been the hottest on record globally. Speaking of this and a previous loss to the glacier’s diminishing ice shelf, climatologist Dr. Jason E. Box of Ohio State University stated, “Petermann is a sleeping giant that is slowly awakening….
The coincidence of this area loss and a 30-square kilometer loss in 2008 with abnormal warmth this year, (along with)…increasing sea surface temperatures and sea ice decline are all part of a climate warming pattern.”
Other scientists monitoring the ice say the newly calved island will enter the deep waterway between northern Greenland and Canada known as the Nares Straight, where it may block the channel or break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by ocean currents.
Dr. Alun Hubbard - Glaciologist, Aberystwyth University: Ocean warming currents are circulating around the fjord here and eroding the underbelly of Petermann glacier at an incredible rate which is 25 times that of the surface melt. There's been a revelation in the last couple of years in the role that warming oceans play in triggering the enhanced acceleration, breakup, and thinning of these outlet glaciers.
Dr. Box, colleagues and other international researchers, we appreciate your diligent observations and reporting on the continued alarming melt of Arctic ice.
May we heed such warnings and join now in adopting sustainable, planet-cooling lifestyles. Speaking with concern during a September 2009 videoconference in Peru as on previous occasions about the predicament facing humanity due to the many aspects of global warming, Supreme Master Ching Hai offered simple but effective suggestions.