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Archive for August 7th, 2010

Fresh Water, Anyone?

Posted by feww on August 7, 2010

Giant ice island calves off Greenland glacier

Greenland glacier calves ice island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD  researcher reports

An “ice island” four times larger than Manhattan calved from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier on August 5, 2010, the biggest such event in the Arctic in 48 years, Andreas Muenchow, a researcher at the University of Delaware reported.

The new ice island is about 100 square miles (60 square km) with a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building (height 450m), Muenchow said.

“The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson Rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days.”

Satellite image acquired on Aug. 5, 2010, shows the huge ice island calved from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. Source: Prof. Andreas Muenchow, University of Delaware.

“Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean.” UDel reported.

Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in 2009. Source: Prof. Andreas Muenchow, University of Delawar

The ice island is expected to enter Nares Strait, a waterway between northern Greenland and Canada.

“In Nares Strait, the ice island will encounter real islands that are all much smaller in size,” Muenchow said. “The newly born ice-island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”


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