Massive retreat of Greenland glacier happens overnight.
The north branch of Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier retreated one mile from July 6 to July 7, new NASA photos show.
“The calving front – where the ice sheet meets the ocean – retreated nearly 1.5 kilometers (a mile) in one day and is now further inland than at any time previously observed.”
The massive retreat occurred after a 2.7 square mile area of ice broke up overnight. To put that in perspective, that is an area of ice more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park.
“While there have been ice breakouts of this magnitude from Jakonbshavn and other glaciers in the past, this event is unusual because it occurs on the heels of a warm winter that saw no sea ice form in the surrounding bay,” said Thomas Wagner, cryospheric program scientist at NASA Headquarters. “While the exact relationship between these events is being determined, it lends credence to the theory that warming of the oceans is responsible for the ice loss observed throughout Greenland and Antarctica.”
The Jakobshavn glacier is located on the west coast of Greenland and has retreated more than 45 kilometers (27 miles) in the past 160 years, including 10 kilometers in the past decade alone. Estimates show that about 10% of all ice lost in Greenland comes through Jakobshavn–making it the single largest contributor to sea level rise in the northern hemisphere.
Photo Credit: NASA