Incredible video shows 4-mile iceberg breaking in Greenland

It only took 30 minutes for an iceberg almost half the size of Manhattan to separate from a glacier in Greenland.

Earth's biggest glaciers are in frozen Antarctica, and their breakup would be catastrophic for sea level rise; the loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would release enough water to raise global sea levels by almost 10 feet (3 meters).

"Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential", observes David Holland, a professor at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, who led the research team.

At four-miles, the iceberg would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City.

Thus far, according to the NYU scientists, the Thwaites Glacier-part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet-has already drained a mass of water that's roughly the size of Florida.


But even though the icebergs tossed into the sea here are contributing to sea level rise, scientists still don't know exactly how such break-ups work. The researchers saw, LiveScience reports, "puffs of ice" tossed into the air as a new iceberg began to break off from the glacier. "By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance".

The 90-second video has captured the attention and concerns of several experts on the climate change matter, especially because the Helheim glacier dips into the ocean on eastern Greenland and it lost a very large chunk of ice that will be responsible for some eventual changes on sea level rise. As it does so, thin and tall icebergs-also known as pinnacle bergs-calve off and flip over.

He adds that the more they understand what is happening means that they can create a more accurate simulation to predict and plan for climate change.

The video shows a tabular (wide and flat) iceberg separate, then travel down the fjord where it smashes into another iceberg.

"The range of these different iceberg formation styles helps us build better computer models for simulating and modeling iceberg calving", explains Denise Holland. The research is focused on the Thwaites Glacier.

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