MIAMI -NASA released photos of a crack in the Petermann Glacier, Greenland’s biggest glacier.
Researchers from NASA’s Operation IceBridge led by Stef Lhermitte, a Delft University of Technology professor, first noticed the crack in the middle of the glacier in satellite images.
Lhermitte told The Washington Post that “it is difficult to already say anything about what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.”
The large glacier connects the Greenland ice sheet to the Arctic Ocean. Researchers are looking into the possibility that the crack could affect sea-level rise estimates.
NASA’s Eric Rignot, a University of California-Irvine researcher told the Post.
“It is unusual to see cracks forming from the center. They usually form on the sides.
This could indicate that the ice shelf has gotten too thin in the middle.”
As the Guardian points out:
Greenland ice is a great analogy for the Earth’s climate. It has inertia, meaning it acts slowly but once it gets going, it’s hard to stop. When the Greenland ice sheet starts to go, it may take a while to melt but it is nearly impossible to stop. Predicting how fast this melt will take is interesting from a scientific vantage point but there are also enormous social and economic consequences. Right now, 150 million people live within a meter (3 feet) of today’s sea level.