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News of Climate Change

A large chunk of ice about the size of Manhattan broke off from a glacier in Greenland and scientists are deeply worried about this calving event. Satellite images showed scientists that a five-square-mile chunk of ice broke off from the fastest moving glacier in Greenland for a period of two days.

The glacier is called "Jakobshavn" or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic. It is located near Ilulissat, a town in western Greenland and 350 km north of the Arctic Circle. Jakobshavn ends in the sea at the Ilulissat Icefjord. Radar images of the glacier were taken by the Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-2A weather satellites owned and operated by the European Space Agency. The images were taken between July 27 and Aug. 19 and it shows the Jakobshavn glacier moving westward. But sometime between Aug. 14 and 16, a large chunk of ice at the front part of the glacier broke off. According to the ESA the chunk of ice measured about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) thick, which means that the broken piece has a volume of roughly 17.5 cubic km—large enough to engulf the Manhattan Island in a layer of ice that is almost 1,000 feet deep. In July 2010, a similar event happened when the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier broke off a 2.7 square mile chunk of ice. But due to the size of the latest calving event, this recent occurrence is much worse. Greenland is considered to be the world's second largest body of ice and according to Joel Harper, a glaciologist from the University of Montana, the melting ice sheet "contributes about 40% of current sea level rise". About 6.5 percent of the ice sheets in Greenland melt off through the Jakobshavn glacier and this glacier also drains a tenth of its icebergs, which amounts to 35 million tons of ice breaking away each year. Glaciers are melting faster these days as compared to any point in history for the last 165 years as reported in a study published in the Journal of Glaciology, making it more apparent that the problem of climate change should be addressed at the soonest time possible.

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