A team of scientists has captured on video a four-mile iceberg breaking away from a glacier in eastern Greenland, an event that points to one of the forces behind global sea-level rise.
The results after the iceberg breaking away from a glacier would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City.
David Holland, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, who led the research team said: “Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential.
“By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance.”
How can this video help investigations into sea level rise?
This phenomenon, also known as calving (the breaking off of large blocks of ice from a glacier), may also be instructive to scientists and policy makers.
Denise Holland, the logistics co-ordinator for NYU’s Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi’s Center for Global Sea Level Change, who filmed the calving event, said: “Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise.”
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 depicts a tabular, or wide and flat, iceberg calve off and move away from the glacier. As it does so, thin and tall icebergs – also known as pinnacle bergs – calve off and flip over. The camera angle then shifts to show movement further down the fjord, where one tabular iceberg crashes into a second, causing the first to split into two and flip over.
Sea level rise
A 2017 estimate suggested that a collapse of the entire the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet would result in a 10-foot-rise in sea level.
So far, the Thwaites Glacier has accounted for approximately 4% of global sea-level rise, an amount that has doubled since the mid-1990s.
The research team is currently studying the forces behind sea-level rise – a development that has concerned scientists in recent decades because it points to the possibility of global disruptions due to climate change – under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The research is focused on the Thwaites Glacier.