Well, A giant “ice island” has broken off the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland. Not since 1962 has such a large chunk of ice calved in the Arctic, but researchers have noticed cracks in recent months in the floating tongue of the glacier.

A University of Delaware researcher says the floating ice sheet covers 100 square miles – more than four times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island. The icy isle, is at least 100 square miles and as a thick as “up to half the height of the Empire State Building,” according to a university news release.

Andreas Muenchow, who is studying the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, said the ice sheet broke off early Thursday. He says the new ice island was discovered by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.

In mid-July, other scientists on a Greenpeace ship predicted the calving. They said that, altogether, 500 billion metric tons of ice was set to crumble from the glacier.

“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,” said Alun Hubbard, a glaciologist at the University of Wales. 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.”

“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,” said Andreas Muenchow of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. “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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