The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. As global temperatures rise, researchers are trying to determine just how much Greenland’s melting land ice may raise sea levels. Sea ice is also shrinking. The extent of Arctic Ocean summer ice has been declining for decades.
The Petermann Glacier 24 July, 2011 photo was taken by Alun Hubbard of Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK, as the ‘after photo’ to pair with a ‘before photo’ taken by Jason Box Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, to match and document the 4x Manhattan Island ice area detachment that occurred between 3 and 5 August, 2010.
In response to the question: How abnormal is this event? Jason Box notes: “The August 2010 ice calving at Petermann is the largest in the observational record for Greenland.”
While the 4x Manhattan Island sized Petermann glacier ice shelf loss was extremely large, it is part of a larger pattern of ice area loss concentrated in north Greenland.
“Our fieldwork results are a key indication of the rapid changes now being seen in and around Greenland, which are evident not just on this glacier but also on many surrounding small glaciers,” study researcher Edward Hanna said in a statement. “It’s clear that this is now a very dynamic environment in terms of its response and mass wastage to ongoing climate change.“