Scientists have been keeping an eye on a specific region of the northern Petermann Glacier in Greenland for quite some time, and now a piece has broken off. A gigantic iceberg, reportedly twice the size of the island of Manhattan at 46 square miles, is the result. Scientists are blaming the break on global warming, pointing towards the dramatic changes that Greenland has started to see over the past few years.
Some scientists believe that this may be a natural occurrence, but the scale of the break has others concerned. “We’re still in the phase of scratching our heads and figuring out how big a deal this really is,” says Ian Howat, an ice scientist at Ohio University. Several of Greenland’s glaciers have been warming at a rapid pace, with data indicating that they’re heating up five times faster than the average global temperature. Temperatures in the region have risen by 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 30 years.
Scientist remain concerned over the shift in Greenland’s climate over the past three years, with NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot saying that the occurrence “is not part of natural variations anymore.” As to what will happen to the new iceberg, it’s likely that it will break off into smaller pieces and drift towards Newfoundland. A similar pattern occurred with another iceberg in 2010. Meanwhile, the Arctic saw the largest sea ice loss during June since records began.