NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Ice block from the great Petermann Glacier in Greenland
12 August 2010
NASA has released the first images of the detachment of the ice block from the Petermann Glacier, along the northwest coast of Greenland, about 1,000 km south of the North Pole. It was not since 1962 that an event of this magnitude took place in fact the block of ice has a size of about 250 square kilometers in size: slightly larger than the Island of Elba!
The two photos below, taken on August 5, show the image of the area before and after the detachment of the ice block.
The Petermann Glacier is one of the two largest remaining floating glaciers in Greenland and connects the Great Greenland Ice Sheet directly with the ocean.
The glacier had been under observation for some time as cracks had already been highlighted but scientists had not assumed a detachment of such proportions. Many scientists argue that it is a natural phenomenon as they remember that glaciers are dynamic and especially when they jump into the sea it is normal for them to split into smaller glaciers as explained by Robert Bindschadler, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. It is also not certain, as many argue, that it could be due to global warming as water monitoring in that area only started in 2003 even though they say the last six months of 2010 were the hottest on record.
Scientists say the large iceberg could melt, or shrink into smaller icebergs, or continue its navigation south and reach the Atlantic within the next two years.
Of course, it is a big step but it would be even better if the moratorium were also extended to the concessions already in place.