Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Dramatic Video Captures Moment Towering Iceberg Splits from Greenland Glacier


Raw Video: NYU scientists capture video of a four-mile iceberg breaking away from a glacier in Greenland. The resulting iceberg, broken off from Greenland's Helheim Glacier, would stretch.

In 2017, scientists estimated that a collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is two-and-a-half miles thick and about as large as Texas, would raise global sea levels by 10 feet-inundating coastal cities around the world. But there is much that scientists have yet to learn about how and why this large-scale breakage happens, which makes it hard to predict when glaciers will fall apart, and how much that glacier disintegration will affect sea levels over time, David Holland, leader of the research team and a professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, told Live Science. This attracted a lot of attention to an extraordinary event, because such data was compared to the distance from the bottom to the middle of Manhattan in NY.

Researchers from NYUAD, who are in Greenland to research the effects of climate change, captured footage of a large block of ice breaking off from the Thwaites Glacier and the effects of the movement on the sea level and surrounding ice (above).

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The research team at NYU is examining the forces behind sea-level rise under a grant from the National Science Foundation. One startling aspect of the video is the noticeable rise in sea level as the glacier chunk enters the ocean. The researchers saw, LiveScience reports, "puffs of ice" tossed into the air as a new iceberg began to break off from the glacier. The latest calving event also suggests that ice sheet melting is taking place with increased strength and at a speed that no models have predicted before. Meanwhile, smaller pinnacle icebergs, which are tall and thin, can be seen calving off and flipping 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 research is centered on the Thwaites Glacier.

A team of scientists led by David Holland, a professor at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, shot the video.

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