Saturday, September 03, 2011

Petermann Glacier Disappearing at Alarming Rate

Between August 3 and 5, 2010, an area four times the size of Manhattan Island (106.2 square miles) broke away from the front the Petermann Glacier. Located in northwest Greenland, the Petermann Glacier is one of a few remaining floating glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere and among the largest.

When ice is lost from the glacier front, there is less flow resistance and acceleration follows. This is important because Petermann is a glacier that flows through bedrock trenches that extend inland to the thickest parts of the ice sheet.

With assistance from Greenpeace, Dr. Alun Hubbard, a glaciologist with the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, placed time lapse cameras and GPS sensors during July and August of 2009. The instruments were placed on the Petermann Glacier in anticipation of a large ice area detachment that occurred between August 3-5, 2010.

With support from the US National Science Foundation and the UK Natural Environment Research Council, Dr. Hubbard returned to Greenland in July 2011 to retrieve the data from the cameras and sensors.

On his return from collecting the data, Dr. Hubbard said:
Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery. . . [it was like] looking into the Grand Canyon full of ice and coming back two years later to find it’s full of water (Glacier Demise).
While the data is being analyzed, the photographs below tell the story.  View more photographs at the Byrd Polar Research Centre.


Michelle said...

Wonderful photos! I'm only excited in as much as my husband has been tracking global warming and ice melt for about 20 years now. He'll love these photos and data. THey fit his warnings.

He's been laughed at in the past for predicting these changes. So frustrating and sad thing is... they're not laughing anymore, but it's not satisfying to be proven right on things as devestating as these.


Barry Wheeler said...

We've had tonnes of icebergs flowing in our oceans here this year in Newfoundland. It's amazing and also sad when you think of why this is happening.

custom logo design said...

definitely its alarming situation and i personally think that the main reason of increasing heat is war, war of afghanistan and iraq because usage of bombs and heat increasing elements are increasing, therefor we should stop all these things and try to grow forest on all over the land of the world.

Elizabth Jean said...

There are a lot of reasons that increasing the heat of the globe and therefore our glaciers are rapidly melting. If we want to reduce this speed we have to stop war and should love nature.

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