Does watching a glacier sound exciting to you? Well, maybe it should — and it should also sound terrifying. When two researchers were watching a glacier in Greenland on what seemed like a typical day, something insane happened. The implications of this event don’t bode well for our planet.
The glacier began a process known as calving.
Calving happens when huge chunks of ice fall off the side of a glacier. The ice splits along a crevasse, or a large crack, and eventually breaks free from the parent glacier. The process is a dramatic one, and the sounds that accompany this phenomenon are extremely eerie.
The glacier began to split and break apart, and enormous chunks of ice fell into the sea.
And when we say enormous, we mean enormous.
All told, the amount of ice that broke off of the glacier was equivalent to the size of lower Manhattan. The process took 75 minutes in total, and it is the largest calving event on record.
It’s a spectacular display, but here’s where it gets troubling.
Between 1902 and 2001, this glacier receded about eight miles. That’s eight miles in 99 years. Between 2001 and 2010, however, it receded nine more miles. That’s nine miles in nine years. And this is why we have to pay attention to climate change and the consequences that come with it.
Watch it in real time here, and then stick around for some rather disturbing information at the end.
This phenomenon is breathtaking, and the sheer magnitude of the ice is humbling. But this event is also a stark look at the reality that humans can change what’s happening in nature. That should be taken seriously. We only have one planet, people! Let’s make it last.