Shocking video of glacier fracturing shows true extent of climate change

10 Jul 2018

Image: Monicash/Shutterstock

Rarely seen footage of a glacier losing a huge chunk due to rising seas has been released, putting issues of climate change in full view.

News of rising sea levels and temperatures have become so common in headlines and reports, it is possible that the general public is becoming desensitised to it all.

That said, a recent video released by a team of scientists from New York University (NYU) shot on 22 June has shone an undeniably bright spotlight on the visual reality of climate change, showing a 6.5km glacier in eastern Greenland snap, break and release a giant chunk of ice.

The scientists involved in the study estimate that the iceberg, which has now been let loose, would stretch out over a large swathe of New York City.

The phenomenon captured on film is called calving and, as a result, thin and tall icebergs – also known as pinnacle bergs – are shown to calve off and flip over a period of approximately 30 minutes.

‘Undeniable and consequential’

Despite it being a major warning sign for the future of our planet, the research team said that the range of these different iceberg formation styles helps scientists build better computer models for simulating and modelling iceberg calving.

“Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential,” said 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 breathtaking significance.”

Denise Holland, who filmed the event, added: “Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise.

“The better we understand what’s going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic