A chunk of Greenland’s ice cap estimated to be 110 square kilometres has broken off in the far north-east Arctic.
- The National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said the “disintegration” of the ice shelf was a major concern
- The ice sheet has lost more ice than has been added in the form of snow this year
- Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra-warm 2019
Scientists say the incident is evidence of rapid climate change.
The glacier section broke off the fjord called Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is about 80 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide, the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) reported.
The glacier is at the end of the north-east Greenland ice stream, where it flows off land into the ocean.
Annual end-of-melt-season changes for the Arctic’s largest ice shelf in the region are measured by optical satellite imagery.
GEUS showed area losses for the past two years each exceeded 50 square kilometres.
“We should be very concerned about what appears to be progressive disintegration at the Arctic’s largest remaining ice shelf,” GEUS professor Jason Box said.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Laura Meller spoke out from aboard the organisation’s ship Arctic Sunrise at the edge of the sea ice.
Last week, Ruth Mottram, an ice scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, said: “Again this year, the ice sheet has lost more ice than has been added in the form of snow.”
“What is thought-provoking is that if we … had seen this meltdown 30 years ago, we would have called it extreme,” she said.
“So in recent years, we have become accustomed to a high meltdown.”
In August, a study showed that Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra-warm 2019, with the melt massive enough to cover the US state of California in more than 1.25 metres of water.