The resulting iceberg, broken off from Greenland's Helheim Glacier, would stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown in New York City.
The event lasted more than 30 minutes, but the movie was compressed to about 90 seconds. The video shows a 6.4-km-long iceberg that breaks off from the glacier and goes to sea. It's a tabular iceberg, long and flat; in the video, you can also see tall, thin pinnacle icebergs crack off and flip over.
Sea levels are rising and one of the culprits is the loss of ice from glaciers and ice sheets, victims of a warming planet. But even though the icebergs tossed into the sea here are contributing to sea level rise, scientists still don't know exactly how such break-ups work. It broke off from Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland on June 22 and captured by a team of scientists in real time. It may also offer a chance to study iceberg calving.
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So far, the Thwaites Glacier has accounted for approximately 4% of global sea-level rise, an amount that has doubled since the mid-1990s.
But there is much that scientists have yet to learn about how and why this large-scale breakage happens, which makes it hard to predict when glaciers will fall apart, and how much that glacier disintegration will affect sea levels over time, David Holland, leader of the research team and a professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics and NYU Abu Dhabi, told Live Science. The research is focused on the Thwaites Glacier.
Denise Holland, logistics coordinator for NYU's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Global Sea Level Change, who filmed the calving event, said: "Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise".