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article imageGreenland giant iceberg heading out to sea (photos)

By Anne Sewell     Aug 4, 2012 in Environment
A giant iceberg which broke off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland is now on its way to the sea. Shipping may be affected.

Digital Journal reported on July 25 on the unprecedented ice melt in Greenland during July.
Now a giant iceberg, dubbed PII-2012, which broke away from the Petermann Glacier, has advanced towards the sea and is about to enter a strait separating Greenland from Canada. It is thought that this could affect navigation of shipping through this narrow strait.
The giant iceberg, measuring approximately 46 square miles (120 square kilometers) in size, broke away from the Glacier in northwest Greenland on July 16. During the three weeks since the iceberg broke away, it has drifted around 14 miles (22 km) and has rotated about 90 degrees counter-clockwise.
NASA satellite images show the iceberg's gradual break away from the glacier, culminating in the iceberg completely separating from the glacier:
This image was taken on July 16:
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
NASA
This image was taken on July 17:
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
NASA
Followed by the latest image, taken July 30:
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
An iceberg gradually breaks away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland.
NASA
Andreas Muenchow, an associate professor at the University of Delaware has been tracking the breakaway iceberg. He wrote on his blog that he predicts that the iceberg, which he compares in size to Manhattan Island, will float into the ocean around August 4.
Muenchow warns of the potential ramifications the iceberg's presence in the Nares Strait could have on sea navigation.
“Without a break-up, it is big enough to block the channel as another large ice island did for almost six months in 1962,” Muenchow wrote.
Greenland's surface ice sheet has been melted by record temperatures, as can be seen on the NASA satellite images below. However Muenchow suspects that the iceberg's break from its parent glacier is more to do with ocean temperatures, rather than air temperatures.
Satellite images taken of Greenland on July 8, 2012 and July 12, 2012 respectively:
Satellite image showing ice melt in Greenland
Satellite image showing ice melt in Greenland
NASA
More about Greenland, Iceberg, ice berg, Petermann glacier, Melt
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