Massive "Ice Island" Breaks Off Greenland Glacier

On Friday, the Petermann glacier in far northern Greenland calved a massive iceberg four times the size of Manhattan. That's 97 square miles worth of ice, at "a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building."

"The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days," University of Delaware ocean science professor Andreas Muenchow told the college paper.

Here's another look, with some scale:

Before we go and pin this on the most appealing and headline-creating perp (and oh how the temptation is there, with the break happening as the term "global warming" just celebrated its 35th birthday and all), it's well worth checking out Andy Revkin's post on DotEarth, where he has a couple of glaciologists weighing in on whether we should even be talking about this break in the context of climate change and sea level rise.

(Not that that'll stop me from linking to the rather hilarious comments from Rep. Ed Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, who said that “an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country." And this zinger: "Last summer, the House passed landmark legislation to create clean energy jobs that cut carbon pollution. However, it’s still unclear how many giant blocks of ice it will take to break the block of Republican climate deniers in the US Senate who continue hold this critical clean energy and climate legislation hostage.”)

This new ice island broke off of a "floating ice shelf," which means it won't be pushing the seas any higher, as its mass was already sitting in the big ocean tub. But there's little question that the breakup of these floating ice shelves "greases the skids," so to speak, for the land-based glaciers up above to glide down into the ocean. And no matter how you slice it, the loss of volume of the Greenland ice shelf itself is well worth paying attention to. Check out this NASA video of the changes in ice mass since 2003. You'll see it gains mass in a some places (the red areas), but overall it's losing much more (the blue areas), to the tune of roughly 1,200 gigatonnes over the past seven years.


Top photo: NASA, arrow added by author.

Video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading