VIDEO: Film crew captures largest glacier break-up ever recorded

Stunning video, sobering message

(WXYZ) - Glaciers naturally move. It's a slow and steady march towards the ocean. But the crew behind the documentary Chasing Ice have have caught something special.

They have filmed what is being called the largest calving or breaking of a glacier ever recorded. It shows the 2008 break-up of Western Greenland's Ilulissat Glacier.

The dimensions of the calving are astounding. Imagine a wall of ice towering three to four hundred feet above the water with a total height of 3,000 feet. (The other 2700 feet are below water.) In the video, Lower Manhattan is super-imposed over the calving glacier for a sense of scale.


It's not just the sheer size of the fracturing ice that is noteworthy. The film documents the drastic increase in the speed of the ice flow. In the 10 years from 2001 to 2010 the glacier has moved as far as it had in the 100 years from 1902 to 2001. This is an ominous sign for the health of glaciers and could drastically change the delicate balance of temperature and salinity of the world's oceans.

Our current state of the oceans and current ocean water movements (currents) are based on temperature, density and salinity.  If this changes, atmospheric temperatures and weather will change.

While there are many forces behind the physical process going on here (for instance, not all of the ice sheet moves at the same speed), the fact that the increased rate of ice sheets coincides with the warmest period in recorded history can't be ignored.

Still, this is visually stunning video and worth a look and a share. Let's just hope we don't see too many more of these types of video.

Print this article Back to Top