Giant ice island breaking off Greenland glacier

More bad news about arctic warming and ice loss (and the sea level rise it is going to cause).  Our sister outlet MSNBC is reporting that a second humungous (a scientific term) block of ice is about to break free:

New photographs taken of a vast glacier in northern Greenland have revealed the astonishing rate of its breakup, with one scientist saying he was rendered “speechless.”

Researcher Alun Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth University, U.K., told msnbc.com by phone that another section, about twice the size of Manhattan, appeared close to breaking off.

“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 break-up, which rendered me speechless,” he said in the statement.

“I’m very familiar with the glacier. It’s very hard to sort of envisage something so big not being there … to come back and basically see an ice shelf has disappeared, which is 20 kilometers across (about 12 miles) … I was speechless and started laughing because I couldn’t sort of believe it,”

He said while sea glacier’s “calving” of ice bergs was a natural process, they were witnessing something out of the ordinary.

“The break-off last year is bigger than anything seen for at least 150 years,” Hubbard said.

“This region (northern Greenland) is experiencing temperatures which are abnormally warm … I think the far northwest of Greenland is seeing a kind of new regime of climate,” he added.

The Humbolt Glacier, the widest in the northern hemisphere, is also retreating, Hubbard said. He said he was not a climate scientist, but said the pattern of ice melting in the area was “a definite consequence of climate change and global warming.”

Writing in the Annals of Glaciology journal, published on Aug. 22, the researchers said Greenland’s glaciers had collectively lost 592.6 square miles of ice between 2000 and 2010.

Read it all here at msnbc and see the briefing from the Byrd Polar Research Center here

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