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Event Details

Glacier Melting event report

Category: Glacier Melting
Observation: 25.08.2015
Continent: Atlantic ocean - north
Country: Greenland
State:
Area: Jakobshavn Glacier
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
A massive glacier has just dumped a chunk of ice into the sea off western Greenland so enormous it can be seen from outer space. Satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA) reveal that an enormous iceberg the size of Manhattan broke off Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier earlier this month-possibly making it the largest calving event ever recorded.The huge iceberg is almost five square miles (about 12.5 kilometers) in size, an ESA statement said, and could cover the entire island of Manhattan with a layer of ice some 1,000 feet (300 meters) thick. Scientists believe an iceberg from Jakobshavn Glacier likely was responsible for the famous sinking of the great passenger ship Titanic in April, 1912. Images from the ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite show that the glacier advanced rapidly toward the coast between July 27 and August 13. The calving event appears to have taken place sometime between August 14 and 16. Jakobshavn Glacier produces about 10 percent of Greenland's icebergs and accounts for six-and-a-half percent of the drainage of the Greenland ice sheet. Almost 40 billion tons of ice break off the glacier and fall into the sea each year, the ESA says. According to the Arctic Sea Blog, this latest calving event could be the biggest ever recorded. But at least one glaciologist has his doubts. Pennsylvania State University's Richard Alley pointed out in an email to The Washington Post the difficulties in measuring calving occurrences, saying the satellite images are not clear enough to determine if the massive loss of glacial ice happened all at once or in a series of smaller events. But NASA's Eric Rignot, a principal scientist and ice expert at the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told the Post that the significance of this calving event is not its record-breaking status, but its massive size, which, he says, shows that Jakobhavn Glacier is retreating at "galloping speed." Greenland is a significant contributor to global sea level rise-even greater than Antarctica, the Post report says. Over the past 25 years, Greenland's ice sheet has been melting 30 percent faster than before because of warming global temperatures, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). If the entire ice sheet disappeared, scientists believe sea levels would rise about 20 feet (six meters). Jakobshavn Glacier is melting at "summer speeds more than four times what they were in the 1990s," said Dr. Ian Joughlin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington's Polar Science Center, in a report by The Christian Science Monitor last year. Scientists have been studying Jakobshavn Glacier for more than 250 years. Their observations have added greatly to the understanding of glaciers and climate change, according to the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
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