NYU: Scientists Capture Breaking of Glacier in Greenland

Scientists in eastern Greenland captured an incredible scene on video: the moment an iceberg measuring 4 miles (6 kilometers) long, separated from the Helheim Glacier and drifted away. The scientists were researching the effects of climate change at the Helheim Glacier.

It only took 30 minutes for an iceberg almost half the size of Manhattan to separate from a glacier in Greenland.

While it's hard to get a sense of scale from the camera's wide-angle view of the separating iceberg, the berg is so big that it could partially cover the island of Manhattan, extending from the lower tip of New York City into Midtown, according to the statement. "By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance".

The remarkable timelapse footage of the phenomenon, also known as calving (the breaking off of large blocks of ice from a glacier), condensed the 30 minute process to just 90 seconds.

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It comes as scientists warn global warming could be even more disastrous than previously thought, bringing "unstoppable" sea level rises and scorching rain forests. So far, the Thwaites Glacier, a part of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet that has already drained a mass of water that is roughly the size of Great Britain or the state of Florida, has accounted for approximately four percent of global sea-level rise. The researchers saw, LiveScience reports, "puffs of ice" tossed into the air as a new iceberg began to break off from the glacier.

Understanding how calving events take place is, the researchers say, important for developing simulations for sea-level rise brought about by climate change.

Lead researcher David Holland said: "Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential".

"The range of these different iceberg formation styles helps us build better computer models for simulating and modeling iceberg calving", explains Denise Holland. "The better we understand what is happening, the more precisely we can predict and plan for climate change", explains an employee at NY University, Denise Holland. Meanwhile, smaller pinnacle icebergs, which are tall and thin, can be seen calving off and flipping over.

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