Scientists capture breaking of glacier in Greenland

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 11, 2018

Researchers also managed to capture on camera a video that shows the noticeable violence and speed of the ice breaking event that is now ongoing.

The research team is now studying the forces behind sea-level rise-a development that has concerned scientists in recent decades because it points to the possibility of global disruptions due to climate change-under a grant from the National Science Foundation.

A 2017 estimate indicated that if the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed, sea levels would rise about three metres.

The event lasted more than 30 minutes, but the movie was compressed to about 90 seconds.

At four-miles, the iceberg would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City. The researchers saw, LiveScience reports, "puffs of ice" tossed into the air as a new iceberg began to break off from the glacier.

When large masses of ice part from glaciers, quantities of water are shunted into the ocean and contribute to sea-level rise. "By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance".

Greenland's glaciers are more accessible, so Holland and his colleagues have spent a decade collecting data and observing glacier behavior in Greenland - and this time they just happened to be perfectly positioned to witness an iceberg splitting away, research team member Denise Holland, the logistics coordinator for NYU's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Global Sea Level Change, told Live Science.

How can this video help investigations into sea level rise?

Understanding how calving events take place is, the researchers say, important for developing simulations for sea-level rise brought about by climate change. "The better we understand what's going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change". It's a tabular iceberg, long and flat; in the video, you can also see tall, thin pinnacle icebergs crack off and flip over. The research is focused on the Thwaites Glacier.

Lead researcher David Holland said: "Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential".

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