A team of scientists have captured, on video, what they call an example of one of the forces behind the ongoing global sea-level rise.
The Canadian husband-and-wife scientists, David and Denise Holland, managed to capture on video a four-mile iceberg breaking off a glacier in eastern Greenland.
According to a New York University press release, the resulting iceberg, broken off from Greenland’s Helheim Glacier, would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City.
“Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential,” states David Holland, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, who led the research team.
“By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance.”
An iceberg recently broken off from Greenland’s Helheim Glacier would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City, as illustrated here. Credit: Google Earth; Image courtesy of Denise Holland
The video below shows the sea level rising as the ice from the glacier enters the ocean.
Researches says this phenomenon, also known as calving, may also be instructive to scientists and policy makers.
“Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise,” says Denise Holland, the logistics coordinator for NYU’s Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi’s Center for Global Sea Level Change, who filmed the calving event.
“The better we understand what’s going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change.”
The calving event began on June 22 at 11:30 p.m. local time and took place over approximately 30 minutes.
The scientists explain that 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.
“The range of these different iceberg formation styles helps us build better computer models for simulating and modelling iceberg calving,” adds Denise.
A 2017 estimate suggested that a collapse of the entire the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet would result in a 10-foot rise in the sea level—enough to overwhelm many coastal areas around the globe, including New York City.
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