The Petermann Glacier

4 09 2011

Petermann Glacier After the Break

A true sign of the precarious environmental times we live in comes in the form of the Petermann Glacier, which lost a very large chunk last year and stands to lose more in the near future. If anyone ever needed proof of the damage that has been done (and is still being done) to our planet, this is a perfect example.

The Huffington Post‘s Green section reports:

When a 100 square mile chunk — an area four times the size of Manhattan — broke off Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in the summer of 2010, scientists knew that it was a historic event. After all, it was the largest known calving in Greenland’s history, and the largest to occur in the Arctic in nearly 50 years.

Over the last year, scientists have only been able to view the extent of the breakup via satellite imagery. Until now.

Photographs taken in July and released on Wednesday offer a new perspective on the August 2010 break, showing before and after images of different areas of Petermann Glacier.

“Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless,” Alan Hubbard, the scientist from Aberystwyth University in Wales who took the most recent photograph, said in a statement.

And we can expect more. Hubbard told MSNBC.com that another sheet, about half the size of the 2010 chunk, is poised to break away.

Jason Box, a scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University and photographer of the 2009 image, told HuffPost that the summer of 2010 was Greenland’s warmest on record, and records have been kept since 1873.

“We’re bearing witness to abrupt climate change,” Box told HuffPost. “This isn’t of in the future. It’s very much now.”

, The Huffington Post

Unfortunately, at this point it seems there is not a great deal that can be done to change the course of this glacier’s future. The damage is there, but we need to look forward to the future and what we can do to prevent more incidents like this.


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