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

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the many-titanics-worth dept.

Earth 323

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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Clearly a sign of AGW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176190)

It is the largest Arctic iceberg to calve since 1962...

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176230)

Clearly. This never happened in the past before man started driving cars and burning fossil fuels

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176486)

Well, we had this thing called an Ice Age and it put a ton of ice in places where historically there wasn't a ton of ice.

Over the last 12-14,000 some of that ice has been melting, then growing back, but generally melting.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176628)

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.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (-1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176696)

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

Uh? What, boiling the frog slower will results in a living/healthier frog? Granted, it will live longer, but in the end is still boiled (is taking longer to die your primary objective? Given the opportunity, I would personally prefer a shorter life but of a higher quality).

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176808)

First off, the frog thing is just a myth. Second, life can adapt, but only with time.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Interesting)

allawalla (1030240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177004)

I might be dipping my toe in very hot water, but... is it really true that the earth has never warmed this much, this fast in its entire recent history (meaning when large animals of some sort or another were around)? It seems pretty statistically unlikely, but that's just a guess.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177056)

It would only be statistically unlikely if you believe that 'natural' cycles have as large an impact as all of human industry.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177248)

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

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (5, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#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!

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176360)

No, this [wikipedia.org] is a sign of AGW.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (-1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176414)

No, this [wikipedia.org] is a sign of AGW.

No, it's not, for numerous different reasons.

And, BTW, ice cover has increased since 2007... is that a sign of Global Cooling?

Do not disturb... (-1, Flamebait)

deesine (722173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176454)

a True Believer when they have that look in their eyes: it'll just create more heat.

Re:Do not disturb... (-1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176546)

The global warming nuts have infested Slashdot pretty heavily.

Best not to disturb them (although I enjoy it occasionally)

Let the poor pointy headed bastards live in their tiny worlds.

Well aren't we smug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176702)

If you really have an argument, bring it forth instead of just acting smug as if you have some secret knowledge which is somehow not obvious/available to the AGW crowd.

Who are you refering to exactly? (2, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Who are you refering to exactly? (4, Insightful)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Who are you refering to exactly? (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176466)

And, BTW, ice cover has increased since 2007... is that a sign of Global Cooling?

Oh, I just love this argument. It's based on the fact that arctic sea ice is declining to unprecedented levels according to studies using every piece of data and proxy data known, as documented in dozens of peer-reviewed studies, but at the same time, Antarctic ice is increasing, and at times, the combined average is higher than the previous combined average. Never mind that Antarctic sea ice increase is a *forecast* of AGW due to the increased snowfall and increase in flow rates of its glaciers, while Artic sea ice is declining, as expected.

The argument can basically be summed up as this:

Nurse: Doctor! The patient in room 1 has a temperature of 103.6! And the temperature of the patient in room 2 is down to 93.6!
Doctor: Perfect -- they average out to normal!

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176568)

Oh, I just love this argument. It's based on the fact that arctic sea ice is declining to unprecedented levels according to studies using every piece of data and proxy data known, as documented in dozens of peer-reviewed studies, but at the same time, Antarctic ice is increasing, and at times, the combined average is higher than the previous combined average. Never mind that Antarctic sea ice increase is a *forecast* of AGW due to the increased snowfall and increase in flow rates of its glaciers, while Artic sea ice is declining, as expected.

No, Arctic sea ice cover is greater than 2007 [wattsupwiththat.com] , not declining, as you expected. Do try to keep up.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176606)

Right, because global warming predicts that all weather will cease to exist, right?

Seriously, what sort of idiot thinks that there will be no randomness from year to year? Climate is about *averages*. And the trends are clear [nsidc.org] .

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176892)

What about this trend [wordpress.com] ?

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177312)

thank you.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Interesting)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177304)

If it's about averages, then you have to set the bar for the average. You can say a 30 year average is significant, or a 60 year average, or a 600 year average, or a 6,000 year average. Which are you going to choose? The problem here is we don't have reliable data for the average that may be significant, so no conclusions can be drawn. And how are you going to compare and contrast the Medieval Warming Period (for example), with today's warming? What about the Little Ice Age? Why is your "average" today so much more significant than the averages of the past, which were if anything more extreme than they are now?
On point of the original post: ice shelves calve. There are momentous dynamic forces at play here. The surface air temperature really has nothing to do with it whatsoever. It would still calve in the absence of any atmosphere at all.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177064)

Yes, because if the planet were really warming, the temperature would be going down monotonically. Sort of like how every day in October is colder than the last one, without exception.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (2, Informative)

thestuckmud (955767) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177270)

Sure, 2007 may have been unusual with arctic ice cover well below the trend line (which can be seen halfway down this page [nsidc.org] ). This is hardly evidence of a reversal of the trend. GP is correct in describing the continuing decline in arctic ice cover as "unprecedented".

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1)

offrdbandit (1331649) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177080)

Your analogy is erroneous in that there is no such thing as "normal" weather or "normal" climate. Human body temperatures don't fluctuate noticeably unless there is a problem (to which you allude). The same cannot be said for weather or climate. By the way: "proxy data" is laughable. I'll just leave it at that.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177216)

Never mind that Antarctic sea ice increase is a *forecast* of AGW

I believe you meant 'GW' (Global Warming). The 'A' in AGW just stands for Anthropogenic - as in caused or largely influenced by humans; clearly, no such phenomenon could be a forecast of AGW in particular as any type of GW would be a candidate for that role.

I agree with your post, but scientists are already the target of extreme nitpicking from those who disagree.. and while being critical is commendable, I think you know as well as I do that they're just looking for any excuse to deny 'X', wherever 'X' is something that would (lead to things that would) affect them immediately, and do so vocally with many a broadcaster eager to give them a disproportionate voice, so that they can continue to live in relative ignorant bliss... let's not give them ammunition to do so by mixing GW with AGW, Climate Change, etc.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (3, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176908)

And, BTW, ice cover has increased since 2007... is that a sign of Global Cooling?

The extent of the ice cap is not the only way to measure the ice cover in the arctic. Probably more important is the quality and the volume of the ice [skepticalscience.com] at the polar cap.

By the way, ice 'extent' is different than the 'area' covered by ice. 'Extent' is what is often quoted, not 'area'. Extent is measured like this: If a grid square being examined has more than 15% ice then it is considered ice covered. So if you had two grids being examined of say 10 sq km each, one being covered 80% by ice and the other being 16% covered by ice, the measurements would say that the ice extent or extent of ice coverage is 20 sq km, when the area would be more like 9.6 sq km. Because this is measured by satellite, grids for study are normally more like 25 or more sq km. Argument can be made to use extent over area since sometimes melt water over ice can be interpreted by the analysis software as being open water. Not always but sometimes; so they use extent to be on the safe side.

What many leave out is analysis of data from satellites that provide measurement of ice thickness. The linked web site addresses this somewhat. I have read about and seen information mentioned more and more on this for at least the last five or six years (and to be sure, the real experts have been looking at this for years). It looks like even if the ice extent is greater this year than in 2007, it is still about 1.6 million sq km less than the 1979 to 2000 average; and more importantly, the current volume of arctic ice is the lowest on record.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177012)

skepticalscience.com

It's not fair that these guys took the word "skeptical" which is supposed to mean "don't believe in Global Warming, Evolution, Keynesean economics or Obama's birth certificate and made a site that takes global warming seriously.

That's bait and switch right thar.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177178)

"What many leave out is analysis of data from satellites that provide measurement of ice thickness."

A video [youtube.com] that I shamelesly "stole" from NASA shows animated ice volume data from military satelites for the period 1981-2009.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Clearly a sign of AGW (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177088)

My summer was chilly. Record cold temperatures all through the sf bay area of California.

Re:Clearly a sign of AGW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176504)

No. It is just a sign that journalists think the public can't understand scientific units. This Manhattan sized icesheet that has half depth equivalent of the height of the Empire State Building has enough volume to supply the tap water for the US for 1/3 of a year. It is also has twice the albedo of a baseball.

Ruh Roh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176232)

Folks, we've got a BIG Petermann floater..

kdawson - off topic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176344)

could we ban kdawson from posting "stories"? Every story he's posted in the last 4 days have been stripped from the news.google headlines about a day late. He's turning /. into an AP regurgitation machine. I've had to start checking /. first now so google doesn't "scoop" my entertainment. at the very least, can I filter him out through my prefs?

Re:kdawson - off topic (2, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176394)

can I filter him out through my prefs?

Yes, you can. The ability to do so was added back during the Jon Katz nonsense as I recall, so it's not like this is anything new.

Re:kdawson - off topic (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176408)

I actually thought it was one of his better efforts. Even though it is about glaciers he resisted mentioning global warming and provided an imperial to metric conversion for its area. He also linked to the BBC rather than a 12 page advert laden blog while adding two additional links of his own rather than just posting the story.

Oh and by the way, if you think stories being "about a day late" on slashdot is somehow strange, well then you must be new here...

inb4 (1, Insightful)

Xaemyl (88001) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176358)

Whackaloons on both sides start flinging poo at each other.

Oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176384)

"It's the thrilla with Vanilla"

In terms of rum & cokes, (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176386)

How big is this thing?

Re:In terms of rum & cokes, (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176432)

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.

Re:In terms of rum & cokes, (4, Informative)

Sovetskysoyuz (1832938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176720)

Volume of a 15 x 2 x 3 cm chocolate bar: 9e-5 cubic metres
Volume of an Olympic swimming pool: 2.5e3 cubic metres
Volume ratio is 1 : 2.78e7
Total volume of the oceans is 1.3e18 cubic metres
Iceberg volume, in the same ratio as chocolate bar : swimming pool, would be 4.68e10 cubic metres
If the iceberg is 200 m thick, then the area is 234 square kilometres.
The area of the iceberg, according to the article, is 260 square kilometres
O.o
You, sir, have astounding powers of estimation.

Re:In terms of rum & cokes, (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177342)

more along the lines of alarming powers of estimation. i think i'm going to hire him to estimate everything for me.

Re:In terms of rum & cokes, (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176726)

A buddy from the US Air Force said, "Oh, a posting in Greenland is great! There is a horny chick behind every tree! The only problem is, there ain't no trees!"

Not that that would matter for Slashdot folks.

Re:In terms of rum & cokes, (2, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176828)

I believe that if we were to host an endless block party on it with 10,000 people, using the ice for drinks, martinis, and smoothies, we could do so far approximately 42 days.

Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176392)

Why do you think they called it "Greenland"?

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (2, Funny)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176420)

to lure settlers there. not because at anytime it was green and/or warm.

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176524)

Wrong!

The areas where the Norwegians settled were warmer than the rest of the area and forested.

"Interpretation of ice core and clam shell data suggests that between 800 and 1300 CE the regions around the fjords of southern Greenland experienced a relatively mild climate several degrees Celsius higher than usual in the North Atlantic, with trees and herbaceous plants growing and livestock being farmed. Barley was grown as a crop up to the 70th degree."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland#Norse_settlement [wikipedia.org]

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176592)

whoosh!

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176566)

Ah, this old yarn! As another poster has already mentioned, it was named "Greenland" to lure settlers. But more importantly, there *were* places in Greenland that were green. Those same places [hostingprod.com] are still there, and are even bigger today [google.com] . Despite attempts to, the Vikings were unable to grow any crops on Greenland, and the only non-animal sources of food in their diet were wild berries, grasses, and seaweed. Today, Greenland cities can grow beets, rhubarb, and other cold-weather plants that the Vikings were unable to.

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176776)

As a reference: [google.com]

The author, of course, conflates finding crops growing in modern Greenland to assuming that they could have grown back then, but notes the strong evidence that little, if anything, was ever successfully grown back then but hay and possibly limited amounts of flax (and the only evidence for that is pollen studies, which failed to turn up traditional food crops). Contemporary writings noted that most Greenlanders lived their whole life without ever seeing wheat, a piece of bread, or a mug of barley beer. The earliest settlers reportedly tried growing barley, but there was virtually no success.

Re:Just one question for the Algoreithm experts.. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176932)

. Today, Greenland cities can grow beets, rhubarb, and other cold-weather plants that the Vikings were unable to.

'Mkay . . . so the Greeland McDonald's offers McBeets, McRhurbarb and Mc"other cold-weather plants."

At the Greenland drive-through: "Yes, that will be one sorry McBabyHarpSeal meal or you . . . do you want some Mc'other cold-weather plants' with that?"

"I suggest that you use a McClub to pummel the bastard before you eat him."

Hey, raw seal meat helps against scurvy. Really. Or have you ever seen Eskimos, Inuits and other such folks out tanning themselves while drinking Gin Gimlets?

Ice danger (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176404)

Perhaps we'll get a repeat of the Titanic disaster? [paullee.com]

Recover for freshwater? (2, Interesting)

Eric_Utah (55690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176438)

I'm curious what technical challenges would have to be overcome to actually recover this frozen water. Many parts of the world are undergoing severe freshwater shortages. A very large block of frozen water seems like it could be very useful to answer that problem. Could getting at least part of it into into a reservoir be technically / economically possible?

Off the top of my head, I was musing about getting it into the Great Lakes, but the channels and locks in the Great Lakes Waterway are obviously far too small to move something this size. If it were eventually towed to a port, what could be done with it? How fast would it melt?

Re:Recover for freshwater? (-1, Troll)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176514)

Are you a complete fucking moron? That question is like the passengers rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176656)

Actually... I think it's more like the ants that snuck on board trying to re-arrange deckchairs on the Titanic.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176636)

Nuke it from orbit. Then pump up the pool of brackish water.

You don't have to tow it into the Great Lakes, just far enough up the St. Lawrence River to have it be in fresh water. But then you're just contributing to the river flow, so you may as well just go pump the river water into your tankers instead of towing a glacier around. Or go pump your boat full of the Great Lakes water. Or The Nile.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176822)

Nuke it from orbit.

Its the only way to be sure... that you wouldn't want to drink that water.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176760)

the biggest challenges are that of scale (you would have to somehow dock ships next to it and then either

1 chop it into shipping container sized blocks and get them onto the ships
2 tow it to somewhere they can melt it down and pump it into cargo ships

i would think that making sure it doesn't cream a tanker (or other shipping) should be the biggest concern.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177070)

I don't think you have any idea just how big this is. That is 10 miles by 10 miles. It is an iceberg as well. That means it is probably a couple hundred feet below the surface of the water as well.

Assuming just 100 feet deep in the water we are talking about 2,069,680,199,348 gallons of water. The largest dry dock in the world could barely hold a percentage of that mass. You would think you could split it up with explosives, but it would be a very dangerous endeavor requiring a huge amount of explosives.

That pretty much leaves you with converting the ice to water, at sea, and then moving it to land with pumps from port. Which of course assumes you could even move the damn thing in the first place, which you can't. The largest oil tankers in the world can transport around 2-4 million barrels of oil. Storing water instead you could probably get at most 150 million gallons of water. You would need a large number of tankers to do it, and you could never get the whole iceberg intact, so at the end you would be getting very brackish water.

Of course, what you would end up with is just very expensive water anyways that nobody would purchase.

 

Re:Recover for freshwater? (2, Informative)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177234)

Apparently it's been done - [athropolis.com] with icebergs, not monsters like this. Seem to recall that Arthur Clarke proposed this idea in the 70s as a remedy for freshwater shortages.

Re:Recover for freshwater? (2, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177368)

actually it looks like its about... 25km long, and about uh.. 7-9 km wide at its widest point. its 200m thick, and ice tends to do that 2/3rds of it is underwater thing, so about 400 feet of it are under water. This is not to say that you further examples are flawed, just that the berg is *HUGE*

landlocked (1)

andoman2000 (1755610) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176448)

the thing looks fairly landlocked to me, from the photo it doesn't look like it could make it to open water.

Re:landlocked (3, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176678)

From TFA:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/07/vast-ice-island-breaks-free-of-greenland-glacier/ [nytimes.com]

> Petermann is a sleeping giant that is slowly awakening.
> Removing flow resistance leads to flow acceleration.

Basically, this means flow acceleration would speed up erosion of the corners that "landlock" it relatively quickly. Pressure caused by the increasing flow on the parts that do the "landlocking" could also lead to the iceberg breaking into smaller parts thus making it easier to make it to the open water.

GISS (-1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176468)

BTW, if anyone is going to claim that this is due to EVIL OIL COMPANIES causing GLOBAL WARMING, here's a link to the GISS weather stations around that part of the world:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/findstation.py?datatype=gistemp&data_set=1&name=&world_map.x=282&world_map.y=47 [nasa.gov]

I just took a look at a few of the ones with long-term weather trends and Greenland appears to be cooler today than it was around 1920/1930.

You came out of the woodwork fast (-1, Flamebait)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176572)

You fucking moron, do you not have a clue what climate change means? But gee golly! We got someone here who can pick numbers out from a database on a website! Clearly climate change is a conspiracy, especially if I use ALL CAPS a lot! The truth is here folks! (Just one question; How can you live with yourself? And why do you feel compelled to revel in your ignorance here on Slashdot?)

Re:GISS (1)

teumesmo (1217442) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176616)

It's O.K. to own Haliburton stock sonny, but perhaps you're advertising it in the wrong place.

nonsense! (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176736)

I hear BP has some PRIME ocean front real estate down in the Gulf for sale, CHEAP!

Re:nonsense! (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176916)

Too bad it is not on the side of the beach that has the sand.

Re:GISS (3, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176688)

Global warming refers to a general trend. Even if there is global warming, it can still be colder one year than the other, even though the trend is upwards.

The fact that the temperature was warmer on average for several years in the past, could mean that there was more melting, causing ice to be more brittle, or more likely to break when ice re-froze.

In other words, damage could have happened to the glacier over time that caused certain regions to be less stable or less sustainable, even if the pattern for a later year had been colder.

It's not 2010 that matters alone, it's the group of large number of years.... 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

You can't just take one year out of all those, and use temperature or other changes during that one year to show that there IS or IS NOT atmospheric gas pollution causing global warming, or if global warming did or did not result in an event.

The mass might break off due to past global warming, even if it happened to be colder this year.

The mass might break off even if there is no global warming at all.

Global warming might effect the probability that large pieces break off of glaciers over time, rather than being a single cause of any deteoriation event.

So anyways, the fact temps cooled alone is no proof that global warming did not result in this.

Re:GISS (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176756)

From the data he posted, it doesn't look like the 2000s, or even any multiyear period between 1980-2010 was exceptionally warm in the majority of the measurement sites with a reasonable amount of historical data. That doesn't say anything about globlal warming, but it would seem to suggest that a big iceberg calving in Greenland might not be global warming related. A bigger one calving in 1962 also supports that.

Re:GISS (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177348)

"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.

Re:GISS (0)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176740)

Me, I'm not claiming anything, but most of the graphs you link to show a long term upward trend.

I'm not a glacier expert (fjords are much more hip), but it strikes me as a phenomenon simply related to gravity and temperature. If the temperature on the long term is increased, the process will be sped up. Comparing a single year or "today" to say the 1920/1930s is not really useful and just cherry picking as a truthiness weapon in your never ending battles against the evils that have actually not posted yet, because the extra effect on the downward forces by the increasing trend of the previous years would already have done its work.

Re:GISS (-1, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176890)

Uh yeah sure, blame the oil companies for the gas you put in your tank. No on forced you to buy a car. No one is forcing you to fill up, either.

By the way, I realize the Earth has been warming since the last ICE AGE - it does these cycles from time to time. I doubt very much that the human race has anything but a negligible impact on this process, however. We will poison ourselves long before we can change mother Earth. She can take super-volcanoes with no problem. Why should she be concerned with us?

Legal Status? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176588)

Can I plant a flag on it and claim it?

Re:Legal Status? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176734)

It already belongs to Denmark.

Re:Legal Status? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177206)

It already belongs to Denmark.

Not for long. Canadian Coast Guard is already attaching a tow rope to haul it over to our side.

But... but... (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176642)

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

Re:But... but... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176750)

Listen to Wolf instead of Fox.

Re:But... but... (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:But... but... (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177124)

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?

Re:But... but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177194)

don't bother. notice how he introduces the bit about what annoys him about the 'GW debate' as if both sides are screwy, only to say the thing that annoys him is how the pro-AGW side operates, at least in his own head.

it's like "you know what annoys me about the abortion debate, it's how the liberals come up with excuses for baby murder"

NOT A SCREAMING LOON (3, Funny)

nten (709128) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177334)

I'm not a loon, it really is an envirocommunist worldwide conspiracy to overthrow the illuminati oil-lords. That only seems far fetched to those who uses non-rectal sources for their news. Step back a bit, look at the situation as a whole, and forget about the day to day details (facts at a high enough rate are just noise), then pull out a theory. Your colon can come up with interesting patterns, and facts are unnecessary ingredients for their assemblage.

Re:But... but... (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177264)

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! This event counters your 'unseasonably cool' argument. Are you still going to denie 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!"

The "See? See!" quote is not a proof of GW, but a counter-proof to every "Weather is climate" denialists claims. Next time add in the bold yourself, now that you know what they really meant.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177400)

Replace "anthropogenic global warming" with "God", and now you see why people think AGW is a religion.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177276)

You know, I hate Fox News and the idiots who love it, but this shit is getting tiresome. Do you have anything constructive to say? Yeah, my post isn't better, but for this shit to get modded insightful is really embarrassing for the site. Myabe I should post "Ha! The climate change deniers are poo poo heads!" and get my own Insightful mod.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177362)

How about that volcanic vent that has been puking for quite some time? Perhaps that volcanic activity that is causing the melt. Or it could be the carbon footprint of Al Gore and Obama that is contributing to the problem? At least if the issue is caused by volcanic venting, the mighty O won't be able to justify his carbon tax scheme!

Many questions on this one!

Arctic ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176728)

In related news, Arctic ice cover gained 100 square miles.

Re:Arctic ice (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177318)

AWESOME, but it's not true, it's recovered much more since 2007 - the big scary alleged melt year - on the order of about 1 million sq. km. (that's kilometers, a unit of distance for you Americans, for you scifi fans that's klicks). We'll know more in a couple of months as the low point of the summer ends.

Don't believe me?

Here is the data. Note that it's really cold up there this year so it's bound to be another low melt year.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/sea-ice-page [wattsupwiththat.com]

Oh, and the ice that broke off of Greenland fractured off, it didn't melt off. It's called calving and it's been going on as long as there have been glaciers. It's a normal process. For some it's spooky. For others it's just what is so.

normal glacier behavior-nothing more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33176830)

This has nothing to do with AGW.
It is normal glacier behavior, glaciers flow to the sea, and calve off.

Indeed, glaciers receding (opposite behavior) is usually touted as AGW evidence.

This is only indicative of positive mass balance for this glacier, nothing more or less.

Nukes (3, Funny)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176842)

Let's nuke the bastard. That'll take care of it. It worked in Armageddon.

OMG (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176856)

I can hear the commenters all across the internet now - "I've never studied anything about the arctic or the antarctic ice caps, climatology, or for that matter earth sciences in any real depth, but I KNOW this is proof of (insert really bad thing here)!"

Of course, to save time, most folks leave off the pre-amble and get right to the "I KNOW this is proof of (insert really bad thing here)!" (The not knowing what you are writing about is just assumed...)

almost a question (2, Insightful)

kqc7011 (525426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33176934)

According to the article this is the largest iceberg since 1962, early 60's global warming?

how hard to tow to africa (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177114)

I know they have some serious water supply problems in Africa ... so ... thoughts on just how hard it would be to tow this thing there? What are the challenges beyond boat power and grappling such a large yet fragile mass? How much would melt by the time it arrived?

Bad Science (5, Insightful)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

 

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