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100-Sq.-Mile Ice Island Breaks Off Greenland Glacier 323

Posted by kdawson
from the many-titanics-worth dept.
suraj.sun sends word of a 100-sq.-mile (260-sq.-km) ice island that broke off of a Greenland glacier on Thursday. "The block of ice separated from the Petermann Glacier, on the north-west coast of Greenland. It is the largest Arctic iceberg to calve since 1962... The ice could become frozen in place over winter or escape into the waters between Greenland and Canada. ... [NASA satellite] images showed that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 70-km-long (43-mile) floating ice shelf. There was enough fresh water locked up in the ice island to 'keep all US public tap water flowing for 120 days,' said Prof Muenchow." The Montreal Gazette has more details and implications for Canadian shipping and oil exploration, along with this telling detail: "the ice island’s thickness [is] more than 200 metres in some places... [or] half the height of the Empire State Building." The NY Times has a good satellite photo of the situation.
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100-Sq.-Mile Ice Island Breaks Off Greenland Glacier

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:39PM (#33176346)

    Hardy har har.

    What part of "Greenland has for years been shedding ice faster than the rate at which accumulating snow adds to the overall bulk of its ice sheet" do you morons fail to understand?

  • inb4 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Xaemyl (88001) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:40PM (#33176358)

    Whackaloons on both sides start flinging poo at each other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:47PM (#33176402)

    Hardy har har.

    What part of "Greenland has for years been shedding ice faster than the rate at which accumulating snow adds to the overall bulk of its ice sheet" do you morons fail to understand?

    The part where it's been demonstrably proven beyond any reasonable doubt, by people who have no agenda and no connections to anyone with an agenda such as implementing new and unusual taxes, that never before in the history of Earth has Greenland shed ice faster than it could accumulate. Because otherwise there's the idea that this happens in cycles, that the Earth has seen warm periods and ice ages long before humans were around, and that during entry into a warm period the loss of ice faster than it is deposited is precisely what you would expect to see.

    Just that little part that us morons fail to understand. Y'know, the part that you morons refuse to acknowledge or perceive as a serious issue pertaining to your view of this subject.

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:52PM (#33176432) Journal
    It is approximately the on the same scale, to the oceans, as that of a candy bar in a swimming pool.

    And it will cause almost as much excitement.
  • by Rei (128717) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:24PM (#33176628) Homepage

    The average temperature at the peak of the last glaciation was 8-9C colder than the modern era. In one century, the "business as usual" scenario will lead to over 5-7C warming (our current rate of rise is about 2C per century, but not only are emissions rising, but we're currently having to overcome the planet's thermal inertia).

    It's not *that* the temperatures are rising that's the problem. It's the *rate* that's the problem.

  • But... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:25PM (#33176642) Homepage

    But global warming is a lie by the liberals! It's all made up, Fox told me! How can this be happening?!

  • by arcite (661011) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#33176722)
    You have an ID that clearly shows you have been around for a long time. Yet you post such an inanely stupid comment. It's like rationalizing that while humans are directly causing thousands of species to go extinct every year (true), everything will be OK because in a few million years they will just evolve again. Do humans have life spans of 1000s of years? We each live on this planet for a finite amount of time. We now find that we are causing changes to accelerate which will cause us great challenges. Where is my arranging deckchairs on the Titanic analogy, I need it again!
  • by arcite (661011) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:49PM (#33176766)
    The majority of scientists in the world that agree that humans are causing climate change (some of which hopefully read Slashdot), or the FOX watching sycophants who lack a basic understanding of science and have the reading comprehension of a gnat? Or are you just one of those people who talk in the third person all the time?
  • almost a question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kqc7011 (525426) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:15PM (#33176934)
    According to the article this is the largest iceberg since 1962, early 60's global warming?
  • Re:But... but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:23PM (#33176990)

    Well if this is proof of global warming, then a snowstorm in the summer must be proof there is no global warming right? Or is climate different from weather?

    This is something that has always annoyed me about the GW debate (or more like GW screaming match). When something bad happens, a glacier breaks off, there's a strong hurricane, or when the weather is unseasonably hot people say "See? See! Global warming! Look at the bad shit happening!" However when the opposite is true, when things are unseasonably cool, or when the weather is nice and mild (so far this year's hurricane season is shaping up to not be that intense) the screams are "Weather is not climate! You cannot look at isolated events and try to use them as proof!"

    Well, which way do you want it then? You can't yer well go cherry picking the events that you think support your side and holding them up as evidence and ignoring everything else. Likewise if the individual events really aren't meaningful, then why trumpet them?

    If you want to support your position as evidence based, and that evidence being larger trends, then this kind of stuff doesn't make you look good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:25PM (#33177000)

    I keep hearing this same quote inspite of record declines in summer ice in the arctic. The problem with the anti global warming crowd is they take one piece of evidence then draw a conclusion and ignore the other 99%. Forget the arctic how warm was your summer? I live in rural mid Maine and we had it hit 90 in May. Normally we'd get a couple of 90 days all year yet we had a lot of them this year. The last heavy snow fall was in early February. We're supposed to get heavy snows all through February into March and it can snow in a normal year in April. I've never seen weather like this and most everyone old enough to remember agrees with me the trend started back in the 60s and really got obvious in the last ten years. If you don't want to believe in global warming then no amount of evidence will convince you. The stance that it's a normal trend is equally wrong because the trend was towards cooling but it reversed itself in the mid 1800s then took off the second half of the last century. The change has gotten obvious to the average person in the last ten years. If you don't want to change your lifestyle just use that as your reason you don't have to try to find some oddball piece of evidence to rationalize not changing.

  • Re:But... but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:44PM (#33177124) Homepage Journal

    Out of curiosity, can you point to any specific individual who wants to have it both ways, or is the problem that both sides are composed of a small number of rational people, and a lot of screaming loons?

  • Bad Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retardpicnic (1762292) <retardpicnic@gmail.com> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:57PM (#33177200)

    Gets used here.... alot.
    Arguments both for or againsts a scientific problem should be framed as defendable proofs.
    We know that the top of Earth's atmosphere receives 342 watts of energy, in the form of sunlight, per square meter. Note that 107 W/m2 of this energy is reflected or scattered back into space by clouds, the atmosphere, and high-albedo features on Earth's surface. So, only 235 W/m2 (342 - 107) of energy actually make it into the atmosphere, and shines down upon us giving me women in miniskirts and the ability to grow food (both of which are....awesome)
    Furthermore, we know that 67 W/m2 of the incoming energy is absorbed by the atmosphere, and another 168 W/m2 is absorbed by Earth's surface. When energy is absorbed, it raises the temperature of the substances that absorb it (the atmosphere and surface of our planet, in this case); this causes those substances to radiate away that heat in the form of IR radiation. We can all agree that these are not simply my opinions right? For those of who are are unfarmiliar, these are called facts, lets keep going.
    About 390 W/m2 of IR energy starts upward from the surface, this difference being caused by longwave radiation needing an atmospheric window that does not have a lot of water vapor or gas molocules containing three or more atoms (i realize this is incomplete, i am atempting to simplify). The more of these conditions present in our atmosphere, the harder it is for longwave radiation to escape. So when we spew into the environment, and what we need to agree on is that adding vapor and GHG's to the environment increases the GW potential... right? Keep your fucking anecdotes to yourself, Using these things called facts we can see that keeping equilibrium becomes more difficult when we insist on changing the atmosphere. So don;t tell me you got two colds last year and only on this year so we are getting warmer, or that your uncle your uncles garden got frosted early thid year so we are geting colder. Or about ICEBERGS, this is an atmospheric issue, give me meaningful data about that and i will listen. Anyone who thinks that chnging the composition of our atmosphere will not result in temp change needs to back to school.

     

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:13PM (#33177248)

    During the Younger Dryas periods we may have seen 10-15C shifts, warmer and colder, in 20-30 years

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:18PM (#33177272)

    I didn't say a damned thing about humans having 1000 year life expectancies or rationalizing anything about future species proliferation.

    All I commented on was the the glaciers of Greenland, and other places, are ice age remnants from the Last glacial period.

    Explain to me how glaciers in low latitudes are not ice age remnants.

  • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:25PM (#33177296)
    now, I'm still processing all the data for myself on global warming, and have not made my final decision one way or the other. I am leaning towards the idea that anything we do to prevent/correct global warming *That Does Not Cause More Harm If We Are Wrong* is a good idea. That said, I do have this question:
    Why is it, when this topic comes up, so many people that are on the side that says human centric global warming is a fact; tend to use the argument that anyone who does not agree with them is a right-wing gun toting SUV driving mentally crippled slack jawed idiot?

    Now, I don't pretend that /. is the pinnacle of human communication or anything, but it seems to me that if you want to have a rational discussion abut the subject, and perhaps attract a few more people to your cause (saving the planet from humanity?) then opening with generalizing insults may not be the way to go.
  • Re:GISS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:35PM (#33177348) Journal
    "From the data he posted, it doesn't look like the 2000s, or even any multiyear period between 1980-2010 was exceptionally warm"

    The Artic is warming at about 3X the rate of temperate zones, the phenomena is called Polar Amplification [wikipedia.org], it was predicted by one of James Hansens models in the 80's and has since been confirmed by obsevation.

    "it would seem to suggest that a big iceberg calving in Greenland might not be global warming related"

    Somewhat tautologically the trend that shows AGW is causing ice loss is composed of billions of individual events, none of which can be said to be caused by AGW. It's like thowing dice that are loaded in such a way that the odds of snake's eyes are 10/36 rather than 1/36. You can never say for sure that a particular occurance of snake's eyes was due to the loading, but you can be certain the dice are loaded.
  • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn AT wumpus-cave DOT net> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:39PM (#33177374)

    During the Younger Dryas, there were large amounts of extinctions throughout N. America, and forests in Scandinavia were replaced with glaciers.

    Yes, there have been periods of abrupt climate change in Earth's history that have happened without human involvement. Regardless of cause, they are invariably followed by a large list of bad things happening, with very few good things.

  • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn AT wumpus-cave DOT net> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:48PM (#33177404)

    Why is it, when this topic comes up, so many people that are on the side that says human centric global warming is a fact; tend to use the argument that anyone who does not agree with them is a right-wing gun toting SUV driving mentally crippled slack jawed idiot?

    Tribalism, mostly. People naturally divide the world into us vs. them on any given subject. While I feel that AGW is the only scientific explanation, most of its supporters are not scientists, much less climate scientists, and many of them jump into fanciful imaginings and impractical plans, doing their cause a great disservice.

  • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:02PM (#33177480)
    i agree completely, there is nothing worse for *any* cause than an uneducated follower. look for my post farther down that details some of the whacky ideas that sort of sheepleism has lead to.
  • Re:But... but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mevets (322601) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:19PM (#33177540)

    It appears one side has a lot more rational people than the other; and the other has a lot louder loons. Both sides will doubtlessly agree.

    ---
    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative. J S Mill

  • by XSpud (801834) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:58PM (#33177698) Homepage

    Here's a better graph of sea ice. It's actually greater now than it has been than in the past 30 years.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg [uiuc.edu]

    +1 informative for the posting the link, -1 interpretation for implying the opposite of what the graph shows.

  • by cryptoluddite (658517) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @11:02PM (#33177710)

    Why is it, when this topic comes up, so many people that are on the side that says human centric global warming is a fact; tend to use the argument that anyone who does not agree with them is a right-wing gun toting SUV driving mentally crippled slack jawed idiot?

    Because it's patently obvious that humans are the cause of it. It's just an absurd proposition that there is any other significant cause of climate change. Yes, you would have to be some kind a slack-jawed right-wing gun toting idiot, or equivalent, to think otherwise.

    You know all this mess in the gulf that people are hysterical about? Imagine 15,000 other deep water oil leaks of the same size spread out across the oceans, and what kind of hell that would be. Because that's the amount of oil we are burning each year. The idea that burning it all instead of letting it leak makes it all but harmless is madness. Less directly harmful that letting it leak, probably, but still plenty bad.

    Just being uneducated wouldn't even be enough to explain it. Take a look at yourself for instance. You "haven't made a final decision yet"? Science doesn't make "final decisions". If new facts come up, scientists change the 'decision'; there is no 'final'. The evidence is so overwhelming right now that really the only way to deny it is to un-scientifically hold out for an absolute... well we can't be 100.0% sure so reserve judgment. Mathematics and religion works on absolutes, not science. So it's not even a question of education or intelligence, it's really a question of whether you have to courage to face the facts or not.

    I think really the problem is that the scale of human activity is simply too great for many people to comprehend. People that haven't ever left their own town and aren't worldly just don't have the resources or motivation or fortitude to even contemplate it. So I don't hold out much hope for society to change before it's too late. And it's not too late, yet, but we'll need massive infrastructure changes or something drastic like say a solar shield to keep anything resembling our current climate.

  • by Rei (128717) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @12:01AM (#33177986) Homepage

    Ooh, Watts -- everybody's favorite college-dropout electrical engineer who likes to play climatologist and who pretends to be a certified meteorologist!

    What a great link -- is it Lets Cherry Pick Data And Then Pretend That It Overrides Peer-Reviewed Analysis time again already?

  • by uncqual (836337) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @01:39AM (#33178336)
    Humans, unfortunately, are not very good at evolving - esp. in modern societies.

    Biologically we are not very good at evolving...

    We breed rather late in life and we spend a lot of energy on each offspring - probably necessary as humans have so few multiple births. This means there are not that many "experiments" so the opportunity for mutations, both favorable and unfavorable to current or future conditions, are limited. Effective evolution relies on many experiments.

    Human's have relatively long gestation periods - this limits the number of "experiments" even further.

    Then we go and make human evolution even harder with social and "moral" constraints...

    The more advanced the society, generally the fewer offspring each female has (i.e., less experiments per breeding cycle - with opportunity for both "good" and "bad" outcomes) and the later in life they breed (i.e., fewer breeding cycles per unit time). These factors conspire to further reduce the number of experiments and stymie evolution yet more.

    Even worse, we interfere with "natural selection" and actually actively try to eliminate it. The more "advanced" the human society, the more likely we are to keep premature babies alive, mask over various genetic weaknesses with medications and treatments. This results in increasing weakness in each generation as these who avoided the brutal effectiveness of natural selection live to generate yet another even weaker generation.

    In advanced societies, we also favor technological solutions over natural selection - if the climate gets colder and colder, we would build buildings and communities with thicker and thicker walls and more and more powerful fusion reactors to keep us warm rather than strongly favoring, via survival, those in each generation those who are most adapted to the cooling environment (by tending to grow fur for example). Societies whose survival is based on heavy infrastructure will eventually be unable to build enough new infrastructure to keep ahead of the environmental changes but they will probably die off due to political mismanagement before then (the Bureau of Fusion will fail to maintain the reactors because the Secretary of Fusion, reporting to some dictator in some 30 year period, will spend all the money on babes, booze, and partying instead on reactor maintenance and the reactors will eventually all fail leaving everyone in the community dead -- albeit, the dictator's favs will be the last to go as they huddle around the last working reactor - killing anyone who tries to shoehorn in on them).

    The brutal truth... The cockroaches and ants (or their direct descendants) will be happily infesting the Earth long after all human lineages have become extinct on Earth and will be almost completely unaffected by natural and human induced environmental changes that wiped out all humans millions of years earlier.
  • by Rei (128717) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @04:05AM (#33178842) Homepage

    The "data quoted at the end"? What end? It's a looping image (really annoying, by the way). And it's still cherry-picking. Individual ice cores for a single location do not a planetwide temperature average represent; that's what peer-reviewed papers on reconstructions using *all* available data are for.

  • by LKM (227954) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @04:10AM (#33178852) Homepage

    Why do people always talk about whether the earth will survive, or whether it has survived something like this before? Who cares about this rock. Global warming won't kill the earth; it'll be here long after humanity has gone. It doesn't matter whether earth has gone through this before, because we're not trying to save the earth. We're trying to save us.

    What matters is whether the current population of humans can survive a sudden, drastic temperature increase, not whether the earth can.

  • by the_one(2) (1117139) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @07:25AM (#33179352)

    This is quite a bit of bullshit. Evolution is slow, wasteful and undirected. Technology is rapid, efficient and directed. It's stupid to let people die from the cold for generations when you can simply put on a damn coat.

    Even worse, we interfere with "natural selection" and actually actively try to eliminate it. The more "advanced" the human society, the more likely we are to keep premature babies alive, mask over various genetic weaknesses with medications and treatments. This results in increasing weakness in each generation as these who avoided the brutal effectiveness of natural selection live to generate yet another even weaker generation.

    You make it sound like evolution has a goal, that generations get "weaker" (whatever the hell that means) because of lack of natural selection. Generally, diversity is good (especially if you want evolution as you claim). It should also be pointed out that evolution is not dead; people don't generally choose to procreate with weak/sickly people/people with horrible deformities, giving them less chance to pass on their genes

  • by the phantom (107624) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @10:38AM (#33180144) Homepage

    And it will cause almost as much excitement.

    That was kind of a weird comment. Nobody knows exactly what's going to happen because this hasn't happened in living memory. What would you have to gain with a "nothing to see here"?

    Clearly, you have never seen how much excitement a candy bar in a swimming pool actually causes. Think about it for a minute. It will come to you. If it doesn't, what else might one find in a swimming pool that is about the same size, shape, and color as a candy bar?

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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