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Ice Island Drifts away from Petermann Glacier
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
By the time MODIS acquired this image, the iceberg—named PII-2012—had traveled roughly 22 kilometers (14 miles) from the edge of the Petermann Glacier and had rotated counter-clockwise.
Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware, tracked the progress of the iceberg on his Icy Seas blog. On July 31, he reported that the iceberg’s speed had increased from 1 kilometer per day to 2 kilometers per day. He expected the iceberg to exit the fjord and enter Nares Strait around August 4.
In mid-July 2012, Muenchow stated that air temperatures in the region had increased by roughly 0.11 +/- 0.025 degrees Celsius (0.20 +/- 0.045 degrees Fahrenheit) per year since 1987, but that air temperatures have minimal effect on the Petermann Glacier. Ocean temperatures likely exert a greater influence, but the time-series data for ocean temperatures in this region is not old enough to establish a clear trend.
A new chunk of Petermann Glacier broke off in July 2012, two years after another large ice island was launched. In the same week, the surface of the Greenland ice sheet experienced unusually widespread melting and some flooding along rivers.