A huge piece of ice, half the size of Manhattan Island, broke off the Greenland Glacier at the end of June. “It was a very big roar that echoed through the fjord as various pieces of ice began to break,” said Canadian scientist Denise Holland, who filmed the scene.
She and her husband were part of the team of researchers from New York University who were there. In the video, one can see impressive blocks of ice falling apart, while the water moves around. Then a large fragment, half a kilometer high, breaks off and begins to sail towards the ocean, leaving behind multiples pieces of debris.
The detachment of this iceberg is one of the most important phenomena of calving filmed. During this disintegration, between five and eight billion tonnes of ice disappeared.
This type of event is of great concern to glaciologists and climatologists about rising sea levels. But Holland’s video could help scientists better predict ocean level variation.
On average, Greenland loses between 200 and 250 billion tonnes of ice each year. This is a sharp increase over the 1990s, when about 50 billion tonnes disappeared each year. The melting of Greenland raises the ocean level by 3.5 mm per year.