A chunk of ice two times the size of Manhattan Island has split from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.
Reports of the event came this week via US space agency Nasa, which said satellite photos showed the 250-square-kilometre iceberg adrift from its origin on a huge glacier tongue in northern Greenland.
Experts say the event comes as a surprise, despite the Petermann Glacier changing rapidly in recent years.
Some scientists say the phenomenon is noteworthy but nothing to panic about, however. Nasa’s Eric Rignot told reporters from the AFP, “It is not a collapse but it is certainly a significant event.”
In Contrast, Andreas Muenchow, from the University of Delaware in the United States, said, “It’s dramatic. It’s disturbing. We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before,” the AFP reports.
Muenchow’s comments echo growing concerns about warmer temperatures seen in recent years and the effect they are having on global ecosystems.
In spite of the size of the glacier, scientists say that sea levels are not expected to change because the ice was already floating on the surface prior to the break off. However, the Canadian Ice Service has said that some icebergs drift to the shores of the province of Newfoundland, causing a potential hazard for marine vessels.