Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan

Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD scientist reports it last happened at this scale in 1962. Must have been climate change back then too. Watch the media now as this story is only about an hour old. BTW it fractured, not melted, and in case some people forget: glaciers calve to the sea there, it is what they do. – Anthony

WUWT rotated & annotated Aqua satellite image - click to enlarge

1:40 p.m., Aug. 6, 2010—-A University of Delaware researcher reports that an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan has calved from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962.

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Here is a NASA Image of the day from August 30th, 2007 – Anthony:

Petermann Glacier, Greenland

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“In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland,” said Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. Muenchow’s research in Nares Strait, between Greenland and Canada, is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf.

Satellite image from Aug. 5, 2010, shows the huge ice island calved from Greenland's Petermann Glacier. Courtesy of Prof. Andreas Muenchow, University of Delaware

Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service discovered the ice island within hours after NASA’s MODIS-Aqua satellite took the data on Aug. 5, at 8:40 UTC (4:40 EDT), Muenchow said. These raw data were downloaded, processed, and analyzed at the University of Delaware in near real-time as part of Muenchow’s NSF research. Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves.

The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean. The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building. “The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days,” Muenchow said.

The island will enter Nares Strait, a deep waterway between northern Greenland and Canada where, since 2003, a University of Delaware ocean and ice observing array has been maintained by Muenchow with collaborators in Oregon (Prof. Kelly Falkner), British Columbia (Prof. Humfrey Melling), and England (Prof. Helen Johnson). “In Nares Strait, the ice island will encounter real islands that are all much smaller in size,” Muenchow said. “The newly born ice-island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”

The last time such a massive ice island formed was in 1962 when Ward Hunt Ice Shelf calved a 230 square-mile island, smaller pieces of which became lodged between real islands inside Nares Strait. Petermann Glacier spawned smaller ice islands in 2001 (34 square miles) and 2008 (10 square miles). In 2005, the Ayles Ice Shelf disintegrated and became an ice island (34 square miles) about 60 miles to the west of Petermann Fjord.

Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in 2009. Photo courtesy of Prof. Andreas Muenchow, University of Delaware

UPDATE: At 2:15 PM I added an Aqua sat image (source here) in visible light with rotation to North and annotation at the head of this article.  – Anthony

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139 thoughts on “Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan

  1. But, but… I don’t see any mention of blame on AGW!!!

    REPLY: Correct, this press release has none, which is why I said to watch the media. – Anthony

  2. That is how glaciers work. Snow falls in the interior and the ice spreads and moves towards lower elevations- where it breaks off or melts. Next winter, snow will again accumulate in the interior.

    The Greenland ice sheet has been exceptionally cold this summer.

  3. Hmmmm.

    Less than half the size of the 1962 island.

    So, is that “Better than we thought” or “Worse than we thought” then?

    Someone’s gotta tell us?

    Anyone?

    R. Gates, maybe?

  4. It really is a shame that glacial ice does have a habit of breaking loose once it gets to the ocean, something about tensile strength and the movement of the ocean……

  5. If a polar bear is stranded on this piece of ice, he may have to float all the way down to Tennessee before finding a blubber filled poodle for sustenance.

  6. The article states: “Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves.”

    Does that mean that only a handful of glaciers remain in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves? Did a lot of glaciers like that melt into oblivion already?

    It seems that glaciers that are still healthy enough to calve into the ocean cannot be all that sick, even if they give birth to a substantial ice-island only once every 50 years or so.

  7. Given that AGW hysterical alarmism is rooted in the science of solipsism, this should scare the bejeezus out of many New Yorkers. It’s a Roland Emmerich movie becoming real!!! (The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, 2012)

  8. Sounds like artic ice will most definitely continue to build up next couple of years with the Nares Strait plug up.

  9. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that calving is usually a sign of glacier growth in situations like this – it gets too big, and a chunk breaks off…

  10. The real question is will it cause any stalls for ice flowing out of the Arctic? Will it cause more ice to build up in the channel? Will the winds push it out to melt in the Atlantic?

  11. Normal glacier behavior.
    It will be hard to blame this on warming, since AGW is usually blamed for receding glaciers. This indicates only that mass balance is positive.

    Oh but I forgot, AGW can cause warming AND cooling, drought AND flooding….

  12. thank God
    I’ve been worried about that thing for years.
    Do you realize if it didn’t break off, it could take over the world?

  13. Layne Blanchard says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm
    If a polar bear is stranded on this piece of ice, he may have to float all the way down to Tennessee before finding a blubber filled poodle for sustenance.

    Actually, I think Al Gore is in California.

    ;^)

  14. OMG!!!

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!

    Let’s see if this makes the NBC Nitey Noise, where everything green is good, as directed by their corporate parent, GE.

  15. When you look at the number of fjords in greenland and the arctic islands this scary glacier movement thingy seems to have been going on for a long time.

  16. “Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf.”
    ———————————————————————————–
    So, this is actually sea ice that just broke away from the land, really. This ten mile long chunk was already thirty plus miles out to sea.

  17. So what happened up there? Did the unusually cold temps drop the local sea-level under the floating Ice Shelf and cause it to crack off?
    Last time something like this happened in the Antarctic, the MSM and Warmists went stellar, after which the shelf didn’t get very far.
    This thing looks like it will get stuck, adding to the Sea Ice in the Arctic. It would make a nice gap for new snow & ice to get comfy in, for many years.

  18. Expect an AGW newscast:

    “Massive Glacier Meltdown. The Ice Sheet has collapsed.”
    “New update: The Ice Island has sunk due to excessive CO2.”

  19. I have never read any information about how cold the ice actually is , i know it is below zero but how much cold is stored in that great thing , cold enough to start to freeze the water around it and begin growing ? When the ice sheets began moving from the pole in the last ice age a similar process must have occured .

  20. There are still glaciers in Greenland? I thought those things melted years ago.
    That reminds me: How is that “ice-free” shipping lane in the Arctic shaping up? How much cargo is getting through?

  21. Here’s the Aqua image the article makes reference to (about half way into the image using IE8 H/V slider bars;

  22. Massive chunk of ice breaks off Greenland glacier
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/08/massive_iceberg_breaks_off_gre.html

    “Icebergs calving off of Greenland’s glaciers are nothing new. In fact, the Canadian Ice Service and the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol estimate that anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 icebergs calve from the glaciers of western Greenland in a given year.”

    “What is unusual, however, is the size of this new iceberg, which is more typical of Antarctic than Arctic waters.”

  23. They actually pre-empted the calving. When looking for more news on it, one of the first hits is from the LA times in 2008.

  24. stevengoddard says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm
    Temperature anomalies in Greenland over the last 30 days, showing usually cold temperatures over the ice sheet.
    ____________________________________________________________
    Obviously the temperatures over Greenland’s Interior are of little interest during the melt season.

    I’ve yet yo see a melt pond within Greenland’s interior.

    Your video does show (I believem since no scale is shown for the green/yellow colors) positive temperature anomalies where historically melt ponds have always occured, along Greenland’s perimeter.
    ____________________________________________________________
    stevengoddard says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:32 pm
    Temperatures at the top of the Greenland ice sheet have averaged 10F during July and August. The warmest temperature this summer was 27F. The coldest was -16F on July 13.

    http://www.wunderground.com/history/station/04416/2010/7/1/MonthlyHistory.html
    _____________________________________________________________

    Now see that wasn’t so hard, showing significantly positive temperature values on Greenland’s perimeter (the top of Greenland no less) where all the melting action actually occurs.

  25. “Does that mean that only a handful of glaciers remain in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves? Did a lot of glaciers like that melt into oblivion already?”

    Yes and no. Actually there is not that many outlet glaciers that reach the sea in Greenland. Along much of the periphery the ice melts in place on land. That there are so relatively few large tidewater glaciers also means that the remaining ones are often quite large, since they each drain a large area of the icecap. I suppose it is possible that some small tidewater glacier on Greenland has retreated onto land recently. I know that this has happened in Svalbard and Alaska.

    “So, this is actually sea ice that just broke away from the land, really. This ten mile long chunk was already thirty plus miles out to sea.”

    Shelf ice from a glacier is floating in the sea, but it is not sea ice in the normal sense. It is vastly thicker and accumulated on land rather than being frozen seawater.

  26. Well the Washington Post has a story on line about it, but doesn’t come straight out and claim AGW as the cause. They skate around that with links to RealClimate to learn why glaciers retreat:

    The most recent calving is also a bit out of the ordinary when compared to other Greenland glaciers such as the Jakobshavn , which is believed to be the source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, and Helheim. The Jakobshavn had a noteworthy melting event earlier this summer. (See this RealClimate article for a technical look at the dynamics of glacier retreat.)

    And if you click on the RealClimate link you come to an article linked to a bunch of papers but something real interesting:

    The Petermann Glacier lost a substantial area, 29 km2 due to calving this summer (Box 2008c), and a crack well back of the calving front indicates another 150 km2.

    So it took 2 years for the thing to finally break off? However of course RC says that it’s all due to “Climate Change”

    Then at the end of the arcticle by the WAPO they make a reference to another article that deals with glacier melt and sea level rise (they also provide a link). Thus giving an inference that this big piece of ice will contribute to that. I wonder why they didn’t come straight out and say it will? Maybe because if anyone read through the entire RC piece on that glacier you would find that the area broken off was already floating in the water like an ice cube:

    Petermann Glacier is a much different glacier than the others mentioned above. Its velocity of 2-3 m/day (Higgins, 1990) is much lower than 10-30 m/day observed on the other marine terminating outlet glaciers.

    It is located on the northwest corner of Greenland and certainly experiences less melting and less snowfall. The lower 80 km (in length) and 1300 km2 (in area) of the glacier is afloat. This makes it (by area) the largest floating glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. The ice front is not impressive,unlike the faster outlet glaciers. The calving front protrudes a mere 5-10 m above sea level, reflecting the fact that the ice at the front is only 60-70 m thick. Further up-glacier, the ice at the grounding line is 600-700 m thick.

    Matter of fact the article has a nice picture of the crevasse which they describe is more like a rift as seen by satellite

    You can read the WAPO piece here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/08/massive_iceberg_breaks_off_gre.html

    The RC part here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/what-links-the-retreat-of-jakobshavn-isbrae-wilkins-ice-shelf-and-the-petermann-glacier/

    I wonder if some other MSM outlet is going to try the melt leading to sea level rise angle and if RC is going to make that article on its site disappear.

  27. If this plugs the Nares strait, it’ll stay plugged for a very long time. That might matter; the ice lost through the Nares was all multi-year.

  28. Good news. This island will float off south and, as it is so big, won’t melt. It will therefore increase the Sea Ice extent. :-)

  29. That huge ice island is probably going to get stuck by the sea-ice and in return re-uniting with the glacier again in the following winter months.

  30. Glacier calving is a sign of anything but a receding melting glacier and ice shelf. Unless global warming is to blame for growing as well as melting glaciers and ice shelves. The media is indeed recycling these scare stories. Kinda reminds me of Oregon State football back in the day. Every year the papers would brag up the team. Same sentence structure. Same paragraphs. Same number of words. But the names were changed. And every year the Beavs ended up vying for the Toilet Bowl against the Ducks. Belief trumps data.

  31. So does this mean Arctic sea ice just increased? Are sea ice and glacial ice “fungible”?

  32. I must say this strikes me as the greatest death threat today apart from a walk by the waterway where geese mommas hiss at you as you walk past their chicks.

  33. “The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962.”

    Lost? It’s not lost. I see it… right there in the photo.

  34. wcp says…

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that calving is usually a sign of glacier growth in situations like this – it gets too big, and a chunk breaks off…
    ——-

    You know, I’ve never actually thought about that, and I think you might be right! Anthony? Steve? Do you agree with wcp’s conclusions? They seem quite solid to me.

  35. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm
    Glacier death spiral, obviously…..

    Nope, sorry, its a Rotten Glacier… :)

  36. if you compare the 2007 photo with the current image, you can see that the glacier still ends at roughly the same spot.

    it has advanced, which is consistent with the glacier gaining mass in the accretion zone.

    seems like a considerable advance in just 3 years, the icecap must be gaining mass much more rapidy than previously thought!

  37. 40 shades of green says (August 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm): “Good news. This island will float off south and, as it is so big, won’t melt. It will therefore increase the Sea Ice extent. :-)”

    New York Times, September 20, 2010: Today R Gates conceded that Steve Goddard’s predicted Arctic ice minimum was right on the money, but insists the plucky prognosticator was just lucky: “If it hadn’t been for that damn glacier on Greenland…” :-)

  38. Snowlover123

    wcp is correct. An expanding glacier moves forward and calves. A declining glacier retreats away from the sea.

    Warmists blame everything on global warming.

  39. Snowlover123: August 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm
    Anthony? Steve? Do you agree with wcp’s conclusions? They seem quite solid to me.

    It’s ice, so it’s quite solid.

    Except for the part where the front fell off — a wave probably hit it.

    (Good one, Sean Peake!)

  40. If it’s really the Day after Tomorrow, will the beer still be free? (Free Beer Tomorrow);-)

  41. Well, we all know that as soon as this hits the media (and blogosphere) there’ll be panic in the streets.

    The cap and trade proponents will be jumping for joy… It’s exactly what they needed (aka the media ignoring what caused the breakoff and just running with the AGW excuse du jour).

    And to add muchly needed exaggeration in the reporting of this incident (just to ensure that it strikes the heart spot on), they compare the size to Manhatten. Why not compare it to the size of, say, the old district in Paris ? Naw… that wouldn’t have the same impact now would it ? So Manhatten it is.

    … and the band plays on

  42. So nature is acting like natureshould today ??
    That’s about all the time I will spend on this matter!
    Hope that calf is corraled.

  43. Here we go, USA Today blames warming oceans:

    “Ocean warming currents are circulating around the fjord here and eroding the underbelly of Petermann glacier at an incredible rate, which is 25 times that of the surface melt,” said Alun Hubbard, a glaciologist at the University Of Wales. There’s been a revelation in the last couple of years in the role that warming oceans play in triggering the enhanced acceleration, breakup and thinning of these outlet glaciers.”

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/08/giant-ice-island-breaks-off-greenland-glacier/1

  44. tty says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    “Shelf ice from a glacier is floating in the sea, but it is not sea ice in the normal sense. It is vastly thicker and accumulated on land rather than being frozen seawater.”
    ==============
    Your comment brought this to mind.
    Couldn’t the glacier, if moving fast enough, continue its downward slope until it was below sea level, before its bouyancy overcame its tensile strength causing it to crack?
    IMO, this is what is happening, but at a slower pace.

  45. In breaking news….

    Manhatten broke off the North American continent today, initially remaining close to its original position, until the tide sucked it out into the Atlantic ocean. Which was FAB-BUU-LOUS!

    Scientists say this is a sign of catastrophic AGW, as the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere builds up, rock becomes bouyant, like latte foam or hair gel.

    Concerned scientists say that this is just the start, Japan, Crete and New Zealand could be next.

    The Mayor of New York was asked if this event would effect Wall Street, he replied:

    “Not really, Sex in the City production has been delayed, but thats mostly Manhatten was really used for.”

  46. I agree with Paul Deacon above. The Arctic didn’t lose this ice. Greenland lost this ice and the Arctic gained this ice.

  47. Watch the MSM/AGW moonbats as they go apetihs on this.

    …-

    “Thirteen campers airlifted after melting glacier triggers avalanche in B.C.

    RCMP in British Columbia say a melting glacier triggered a two-kilometre avalanche that came to rest atop the Meager Creek hot spring outside Pemberton, B.C., trapping about 13 campers who were in the area.

    Police don’t believe anybody was hit by the sliding mass of muddy debris but say a group was camping on the wrong side of a service road that became blocked by debris.”

    “The overnight incident was initially reported as a landslide but Sgt. Lemay confirmed it was actually the Capricorn glacier atop Capricorn Mountain that gave way.”

    “The area has a long history of geological instability. A flood swept through the Meager Creek hot springs in 1985, damaging cars and bridges and forcing the rescue of visitors by helicopter. And in 1975, four consulting geologists doing geothermal studies for BC Hydro were buried in an avalanche at nearby Devastation Creek.

    Three landslides were reported around Meager Creek in October 1990, triggered by heavy rains. The slides blocked access to the hot springs, a popular tourist spot, and stranded five tourists by knocking down a bridge.

    The area is also home to B.C.’s largest, most recently active volcano — a series of peaks known as the Mount Meager complex, officially listed as dormant. It last erupted more than 2,360 years ago.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/08/06/people-trapped-by-b-c-landslide-reports/

  48. EFS_Junior says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Did anyone else not notice that the number of melt ponds in the vicinity of and on the surface of the Petermann Glacier is considerably diminished in the August 5 2010 picture at the top of the post compared with picture taken on June 18 2003 below it?

  49. “The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days,”

    Wrap it in aluminum foil and tow it to Russia, I hear they are having a drought.

  50. Al Gore’s Holy Hologram says: August 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm
    I wish they would shut up about the size of Manhattan for once

    Why, haven’t you heard yet? Manhattan, the size of a large iceberg, has broken off The Bronx leaving behind a huge rift called Harlem River.

  51. fp says:
    August 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Here we go, USA Today blames warming oceans:

    But warming ocean currents are a local event (as we know from stable ocean average temperatures) that don’t implicate global warming, the way a warming atmosphere would. There was a story here on WUWT in February about how the determination that warming currents were responsible for the break-off of an Eastern Greenland glacier refuted alarmist claims that it was due to warming atmospheric temperatures. Here’s the link:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/16/greenland-glaciers-melt-due-to-sea-current-change-not-air-temperature/

  52. So it is worse than we thought; are we all gonna die ?

    If I had a humvee I could hitch up to this thing and tow it to Los Angeles where they could use some extra water.

    I could get rich with that much bottled water.

    Anybody know why the ocean never freezes and crawls up onto Greenland and climbs uphill to the top of those glaciers. How the hell does all that ice get up there anyway; enquiring minds want to know ?

    Maybe Santas Elves cart all that ice up to the top during the night just to see the greenies squirm as it all bowls downhill again.

  53. Ice in thicknesses as great as these, plasticity plays a big part. The thicker the ice the faster it moves. The colder it gets the more icebergs will be floating around the worlds waterways.

    This idea of more floating icebergs, is an AGW’s dream come true…Every single warmer I talked to thinks this is proof that the planet is becoming a burnt potato.

    How long will AGWers cling to that bogus theory.

  54. Or this from http://www.cejournal.net/?p=3358

    “… ice shelves still are significant because they can hold back the flow of a glacier into the ocean.”

    Though given the pictures that the tounge had been detached from the side of the fjord since 2008, I’m not sure how it would apply in this case.

  55. I’m just trying to figure out how many cases of vodka one can make from a berg the size of Manhattan, which is kind of ironic since a Manhattan is made with Canadian rye, vermouth and bitters (what AGWers are spewing these days).

  56. If only Manhattan would calve off an island the size of Manhattan and float out to sea to melt…

    EDIT: I see everybody else already thought of my jokes today…

  57. Why do I have this mental image of Al Gore, et. al. (Gore in his bath robe, ala massage-gate) strategically planting explosives to speed up the calving? (Can someone pass the ice pick to get Al Gore’s image out of my head.) : ))

    Would that make a good Friday Funny? (Al Gore in his bath robe planting explosives on a glacier, not me with an ice pick.)

  58. fp says:
    August 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Most of the oceans haven’t yet received the news, and are growing colder as we speak.
    Better yet, the Ice Shelf is floating north, not south.

  59. The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962

    So it’s not unprecedented. 1962 was a time of cooling in the earth. The earth is in a time of cooling now too.

  60. Frederick Michael says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    If this plugs the Nares strait, it’ll stay plugged for a very long time. That might matter; the ice lost through the Nares was all multi-year.

    Sounds like that’s a normal occurrence, specially in times of cooling.

  61. This “calving iceberg” is just the Polar Bear Ferry leaving its dock, right on time, as usual. I sent a txt to G.P. Bear and he mentioned that this is how they travel to the smaller islands nearby.

  62. Cant be that serious as ClimateProgress.org has not reported it yet…

    By the way every chance you get post the following link in their post comments sections as they keep removing it when I add it in :), cant think why!!

  63. Billy Liar says:
    August 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm
    EFS_Junior says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Did anyone else not notice that the number of melt ponds in the vicinity of and on the surface of the Petermann Glacier is considerably diminished in the August 5 2010 picture at the top of the post compared with picture taken on June 18 2003 below it?
    _____________________________________________________________

    1) Clouds obscure a majority of the ice cap in that region for the recent August 2010 images.

    2) You should not compare images of melt ponds in June with those taken in August, as many of the melt ponds will have drained by the July time frame, as they have done so far in 2010. The drained melt ponds show up like dried water spots on your monitor, much more difficult to see, if you haven’t been watching them on a daily basis, since June as I have done.

  64. The calving iceberg has been in the ocean for quite some time displacing a lot of sea water, ergo, causing and increase in sea level. However, as the ice will melt over a span of time, sea level will drop all other things being equal, as a result of the difference in density between ice and liquid water. Try it yourself by putting ice cubes in a glass of water. Mark the level of water in the glass, and check the level after the ice has melted. You will see a drop of water level in the glass.

    [REPLY- Huh?! The level remains the same. Displacement is constant, isn’t it? ~ Evan]

  65. R. LeBel says:
    August 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    The calving iceberg has been in the ocean for quite some time displacing a lot of sea water, ergo, causing and increase in sea level. However, as the ice will melt over a span of time, sea level will drop all other things being equal, as a result of the difference in density between ice and liquid water. Try it yourself by putting ice cubes in a glass of water. Mark the level of water in the glass, and check the level after the ice has melted. You will see a drop of water level in the glass.

    [REPLY- Huh?! The level remains the same. Displacement is constant, isn’t it? ~ Evan]
    _____________________________________________________________

    AFAIK the calved section was not grounded, even if it were, most of the ice would have been very close to being neutrally buoyant, as the bathymetry and top of the ice are relatively flat based on the satellite imagery and length of the glacier near sea level.

    Doesen’t matter once the ice is floating though, as it displaces it’s own weight in the fluid it occupies, just like any other floating object, see;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buoyancy

  66. Didn’t Titanic run into a broken off piece of ice. I think they’re nothing new. The ice broke off, it didn’t melt off. So it’s not global warming.

  67. stevengoddard says:
    August 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    Snowlover123

    wcp is correct. An expanding glacier moves forward and calves. A declining glacier retreats away from the sea.
    ———–
    I don’t think that glacier starts crawling back up the hill. It’s in retreat because stuff is falling off it faster than the ice mass is sliding down. Retreating is not necessarily shrinking, it’s just where the snout terminates.
    Check out the Meares and Columbia glaciers in Alaska. They’re only a few miles apart, one is advancing, the other retreating.

  68. Wouldn’t the angle of the hill the glacier sits on really determine how the glacier advances and retreats?

    If the glacier sits on a hill that is say 20 degrees (just for example, I don’t know the real measure of what makes a hill steep or flat), wouldn’t it act different than a glacier sitting on a hill with a 40 degree angle just because of the rate of flow? Am I being obtuse? ;-)

  69. The Finnish news have this reported as it is still not sure how much of this event was caused by AGW The biggest paper in Finlands story (in Finnish)

    (I’ve been a lurker here for some years but had put my first comment on this as the article is so stupid, its like I was sneezing this morning but it’s still undetermined how much of this was caused by AGW.)

    Kenneth

  70. A nice little piece from the Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/07/biggest-ice-island-greenland

    In particular this snippet:

    “He said it was hard to judge whether the event occurred due to global warming because records on the sea water around the glacier have only been kept since 2003.

    “Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn’t,” Muenchow said, adding that the flow of sea water below the glaciers is one of the main causes of ice calvings off Greenland.”

    An astute observation by Andreas Muenchow. Let me add this:
    “Nobody can claim this was caused by global cooling. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn’t,” Muenchow said, adding that the flow of sea water below the glaciers is one of the main causes of ice calvings off Greenland.”

  71. ” “In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland,” said Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.”

    WOW! I did not know Manhattan was so tiny. ;-) pg

  72. if this huge chunk of ice floats into shipping lanes it could cause a disaster of titanic proportions

  73. 1962.. Did we have climate back then?? Holy Carbon Batman, we are caught in a vortex of…. climate repetitiveness. How boring. Bugger off, Gore & Strong. We have seen how Thugocrats run things.

    regards.

  74. C’mon, I asked a simple, civil question back at 12:20pm.

    No-one’s answered!

    Since the chunk that fell of in 1962 (a cooler period, as has been pointed out) was more than twice as big as this latest one, is it better or wuss than we thunk?

    Someone has to know!

    C’mon R. Gates. You’re not usually so shy! Where are you when we need you? Don’t want to nag you but surely you can tell us since you know, um, EVERYTHING about Arctic Ice?

    Are you awake yet?

  75. For Steve Goddard: Dear Steve – I earlier posted as follows:
    ————————————————————————————–
    August 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    So does this mean Arctic sea ice just increased? Are sea ice and glacial ice “fungible”?
    —————————————————————————————
    Although this quetion was asked naively, it was meant seriously, as I find your frequent posts on Arctic sea ice entertaining and informative. Is there a classification difference between Arctic sea ice and calved glacial ice in the Arctic? If not, does this mean a calving glacier inside the Arctic circle will increase the extent of Arctic sea ice “overnight”? If so, how “chunky” is this noise in the measurements?

    All the best.

  76. These satellite images are great.

    DMI show 1000’s of them going back 12-18 months for all around Greenland.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/modis.uk.php

    I like this series of pic from June 2009 showing a big lump of sea ice breaking off and floating away. It looks even bigger than 4 Manhattans.





    Your 2007 picture seems to show the glacier was shorter in 2007 than it was in 2010 before the latest lump fell off. There looks like there’s another crack further down waiting to break another lump off. So expect updates.

    What a dynamic world we live in.

  77. As Anthony said, ‘It’s what glaciers do’. If glaciers melt they retreat up valley. A calving glacier shows a healthy glacier being supplied from up valley with plenty of ice. Ice sheets will break up due to storm surges or wave action. Very cold ice becomes brittle and more likely to fracture under stress. It still seems to be held in the bay by sea ice so I guess that it will be there next year to frighten the media again.

  78. A lesson learnt: don’t order your ice-cream with extra ice – it was not meant to be that way and the extra ice will migrate.

  79. Enneagram says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm
    “A glacier turned into a iceberg and now looking for a vessel…”

    Alarm! Alarm!

    Thanks for the heads-up. I will be keeping my 18.5′ open bow fiberglass fishing boat at its dock on a Mid-western U.S. reservoir and cancelling my plans for a North Atlantic cruise (though I should be able to breeze through the Northwest Passage, right?).

    Precautionary Principle and all that, ya’ know… ;o)

  80. This seems to be an appropriate place to bring up the subject of “FOG” (please allow me to ask a “Weather Question” I haven’t seen addressed lately), London Fog (the real thing NOT the raincoats) was noted for many years as Ice in the North Atlantic region melted after the LIA and things began to warm up, but – here’s the kicker –

    wouldn’t the reverse also be true: during ocean cooling, glaciers growing and calving, sea water freezing and creating ice, wouldn’t the cooling also create some pretty foggy weather for the Brits, etc.?

    If someone has a thing for sea fog, I sure would like to hear more on the subject sometime, especially the part about sea ice formation and the foggy effect on the N.Atlantic region during cooling phases (aka Climate Changes).

  81. Enneagram says:
    August 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    A glacier turned into a iceberg and now looking for a vessel…

    Cue “Jaws” music

  82. From CNN’s take on this:

    The ice island, which is about half the height of the Empire State Building, is the biggest piece of ice to break away from the Arctic icecap since 1962

    And then a few paragraphs later:

    Environmentalists say ice melt is being caused by global warming with Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reaching their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years

    REPLY: Told ya so, even though there’s no mention of this in the original press release. – Anthony

  83. It is now covered in swedish media.

    http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7584147.ab

    They say that no one can tell it is caused by AGW, but on the other hand no one can say it isn’t.
    I guess they had to add that last line just to make people think that it is caused by AGW. After all Sweden has one of the worlds most AGW believing media and politicians. The article also tells the glacier has grown alot in recent years so it is expected to calve alot.

    It is also covered by Swedens Al Gore, a former meteorologist, Pär Holmgren, but for once he do not blame AGW directly.
    http://blogg.aftonbladet.se/vaderbloggen

    He did blame the growth of Antarcitc sea ice this winter on increased calving of ice at Antarctica during the winter this year though and the calving was caused by AGW.

  84. 12:20pm. 12:02am

    There’s a danger of sounding like her indoors (in a bad mood.)
    But we still haven’t been told if this is good news (half the size of 1962) or bad (bigger than everything since.)

    R. Gates obviously considers my impertinent Lèse Majesté to be beneath his notice – or perhaps he was out celebrating the new warmista icon (Moscow Burning) and has a sore head.

    But we all know that the old standby (the 2003 French Heatwave that killed at least a Trillion French people and PROVED we have to shut down fossil fuel power stations and build more windmills NOW) is looking a bit tired and passé now.

    They were really hoping (none more than R. Gates) that the only white thing in the Arctic by now would be drowned polar bears floating about. That ain’t going to happen until next year at the very earliest.

    All the other breastbeating and shroudwaving ideas have gone pretty bad. They even had to get in the “2010: Warmest Year Since The Big Bang” play in 5 months early
    whilst there was still some chance that they’d get some poor old greenie hack to run with the story.

    So the “heatwave in Moscow” is helpful and will be trotted out ad nauseam. (Peru? Argentina? Khazakhstan? Whose heard of them? – Certainly not from the BBC!) And I guess we’ll also have this overgrown ice cube thrown at us. And probably the flooding in Pakistan. Worst for a Century!

    After all we need more windmills and solar panels before the whole thing goes belly up.

    No, not Gaia or The Planet or Our Grandchildren’s Future.
    Just the cAGW scam.

  85. HR, those DMI images are showing sea ice breaking off. Calving glacier ice is many, many meters thicker. Think volume.

  86. That ice island ain’t going nowhere. Unless the sea ice in Nares Strait melts in the next ten days that ice island will become part of the Arctic Ice Extent.

  87. EFS_Junior says:
    August 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    You should not compare images of melt ponds in June with those taken in August, as many of the melt ponds will have drained by the July time frame, as they have done so far in 2010.

    That’s funny, there seem to be quite a lot of them in this picture taken in August one year ago today:

    Not many ponds around on 16 June of this year either:

  88. Climate change was blamed for the ‘calving’ ice island on the 6pm BBC news on Radio 4 today.

  89. Billy Liar says:
    August 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm
    EFS_Junior says:
    August 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    You should not compare images of melt ponds in June with those taken in August, as many of the melt ponds will have drained by the July time frame, as they have done so far in 2010.

    That’s funny, there seem to be quite a lot of them in this picture taken in August one year ago today:

    Not many ponds around on 16 June of this year either:

    ____________________________________________________________

    Clouds clearly obscure your June image, while I can count the melt ponds on one hand from your August image.

    You need to compare June with another June. July with another July, and August with another August, all being from the same two years.

    Otherwise, it’s apples and oranges.

    Per your original comment, what does August 5 2010 have to do with June 18 2003 anyway?

    Is there some relationship between visable melt ponds at different times of year and different years with calving glaciers?

  90. Scott Ramsdell says:
    August 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

    From CNN’s take on this:

    ….Environmentalists say ice melt is being caused by global warming with Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reaching their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years

    Well, it’s good that they went to environmentalists for some information on scientific data.

  91. This article does not take the problem seriously enough.
    Andy Revkin, a real expert on the climate change issue, puts this new ice island into its proper context. It is part of the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. If this all melts then Florida will be submerged under 20 feet of water. All the cool water flowing into the Atlantic will cool temperatures, maybe causing another ice age.
    see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbMkurETxjU
    and http://manicbeancounter.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/andy-revkin-doesn%e2%80%99t-know-which-way-to-panic/

  92. Yup. Democrats/AGW moonbats have gone apetihs.

    …-

    “Markey: Deniers of global warming should ‘start their own country’
    By Shane D’Aprile – 08/07/10 04:04 PM ET

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) suggested a novel use Saturday for a 100-square-mile ice sheet that has broken off Greenland.

    “An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country,” Markey said in a statement. “So far, 2010 has been the hottest year on record, and scientists agree arctic ice is a canary in a coal mine that provides clear warnings on climate.”

    Some scientists have attributed the breaking off of the ice sheet to abnormally warm temperatures this year.

    Markey, who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, co-authored the House version of the climate change bill that’s currently stalled in the Senate.

    He said it was “unclear how many giant blocks of ice it will take to break the block of Republican climate deniers in the US Senate who continue hold this critical clean energy and climate legislation hostage.””

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/113171-markey-global-warming-deniers-should-start-their-own-country-on-giant-ice-island-

  93. I thought ice volume was the new crucial parameter, not ice area. If the claims “at least 100 square miles” and “thickness up to half the height of the empire state building’ (1250 feet = 0.38 km) are to be believed, then it is less than (0.19 km x 259 km^2) = 49 km^3. The Greenland ice sheet is somewhere around 2.5 – 5 million km^3. This represents 10-20 ppm (parts per million) of Greenland’s ice sheet, but as others have said, it isn’t going anywhere.

  94. >> From 2002 until 2009, satellite images showed that glacier front has moved farther and farther out to sea and it was expected that the tip eventually would snap off.<<

    I'm reckoning the distance moved over the 3 years, from August 2007 to August 2010, to be 15-20 km.
    I used the scale on the 2nd map.
    5-7 km/year.
    How can a glacial tongue move 5-7 km/year?

  95. The run out for that tongue ends at the Nares Strait which can be a busy place. I presume the snout can never advance out into the strait save for that being frozen fast. So what is the historical range of the snout of the Petermann glacier, and is this just a matter of natural aging for this area? What is the normal advance rate? Where was the snout in 1962 prior to that calving event? What, in other words, is unusual about this? I’m asking rhetorically, so don’t anyone tell me to do my own homework :)

    That separation line can be seen in photos dating back several years – it should hardly be a surprise it was going to break at that point – there were also other cracks where it can have broken away. Only one can be the weakest link, and I’d bet the feeder glaciers on the right side of that tongue (oriented per the photo) are part of the stress that creates the weak spots.

  96. Günther Kirschbaum says:
    August 7, 2010 at 9:37 am
    “HR, those DMI images are showing sea ice breaking off. Calving glacier ice is many, many meters thicker. Think volume.”

    Yep I was aware of that, I only put the images there out of interest. We live in priveleged times that we all can witness such events.

    Here’s a news page from DMI

    http://www.dmi.dk/dmi/groenlandsk_gletsjer_knaekker_-_se_billederne

    which google toolbars translates thus

    “From 2002 until 2009 , satellite images showed that glacier front has moved farther and farther out to sea and it was expected that the tip eventually would snap off .”

    If we are going to insist that the 2010 event is a sign of global warming then should we interpret the 2002 to 2009 tongue growth as a period of global cooling or should we see it all as part of the dynamism of the region. I favour the later

  97. Dear Smokey,

    I’m not quite Al Gore

    Please note that Andy Revkin claims, within 3 minutes both that melting Greenland ice could cause cooling in the Atlantic AND that melting of the ice sheets will cause sea levels to rise by seven metres. A sign of a die-hard alarmist is to go for the contradictory extremes – and not notice the problem.

    Anyway, please take a look at the video to see for yourself.

    http://manicbeancounter.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/andy-revkin-doesn%e2%80%99t-know-which-way-to-panic/

  98. manicbeancounter,

    I was kidding about Al Gore. Sorry if I botched the message. I agree with you.

  99. A lot of funny remarks and it is true that normal, non-melting glaciers to calve, sometimes spectacularly. But it take a particularly out-of-touch or unobservant one (in some cases intentionally unobservant) to not know that worldwide glaciers have been retreating at a record rate, some disappearing entirely. Setting the polar ice cap aside, put “retreating glaciers” into your Google search term and you will find plenty of photographic evidence that _most_ glaciers are retreating (means “melting”) at an alarming rate.

    There will be years of record cold along with record heat, that’s how it works, and some may even grow over a short period, but the trend is downward precipitously, especially in the last 30 years. Is it natural or is it the result of man’s activities? I don’t know but 98% of the world’s scientist do actually believe in global warming and that it is caused by man. Those that don’t get a big stage supplied by companies and political parties with an interest in playing down the obvious.

    If 98% of your doctors tell you that you have a cancerous wart on your butt do you ignore them because you fear medical procedures or the cost thereof?

    The potential consequences to where we live of not listening to the people who are trained in these sciences and taking steps are far worse and more permanent than the consequences of doing something and there being no such problem.

    Set politics aside.

    Joel
    Atlanta

  100. Joeldm
    Kidding, right? In the off chance that you aren’t, care to support your claims with peer-reviewed materials–and nothing from the WWF, Greenpeace, the Blowington Post, the IPCC, or any other discredited source.

  101. joeldm says:
    August 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    “A lot of funny remarks and it is true that normal, non-melting glaciers to calve, sometimes spectacularly. But it take a particularly out-of-touch or unobservant one (in some cases intentionally unobservant) to not know that worldwide glaciers have been retreating at a record rate, some disappearing entirely. Setting the polar ice cap aside, put “retreating glaciers” into your Google search term and you will find plenty of photographic evidence that _most_ glaciers are retreating (means “melting”) at an alarming rate.”

    Well, I’d consider you observant. The last 12,000ish years have been tough on glaciers. In the U.S., they’ve retreated all the way back from the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Those &%#! paleos and their carbon-based fuels along with (phwewee!) those %#@! gassy mastodons. It was just more methane and CO2 than those glaciers could stand. BTW, what is the “normal” rate for glacier retreat (cite, please)?

    “There will be years of record cold along with record heat, that’s how it works, and some may even grow over a short period, but the trend is downward precipitously, especially in the last 30 years. Is it natural or is it the result of man’s activities? I don’t know but 98% of the world’s scientist do actually believe in global warming and that it is caused by man. Those that don’t get a big stage supplied by companies and political parties with an interest in playing down the obvious.”

    Only 98%? I should think it would be 100% that believe in global warming. After all, we have been warming up in fits and starts – but steadily – since heading out of the Little Ice Age. I guess 2% of them haven’t been paying much attention, eh?

    “If 98% of your doctors tell you that you have a cancerous wart on your butt do you ignore them because you fear medical procedures or the cost thereof?”

    Sorry, joeldm . You lost me there with that non sequitur hypothetical. Put me in the slow learners class, will ya’? I can’t make heads nor tails of what you’re getting at.

    “The potential consequences to where we live of not listening to the people who are trained in these sciences and taking steps are far worse and more permanent than the consequences of doing something and there being no such problem.”

    Whoa up there, cowboy! I have no clue as to what you just said. Where would I live and what consequences would I avoid if I listened to scientists? Which scientists? Are we back on the wart-on-the-butt thing again? Are you invoking the Precautionary Principle? Do I saw off my leg to make sure that ugly wart doesn’t spread to my big toe? Then, because the scientists said so, I move to Saudi Arabia because it’s already hotter’n blue blazes there and I won’t notice a few degrees of extra warmth there? Help me out, here.

    “Set politics aside.”

    Never! I make it a point to vote early and vote often. Me’n my dad and mum (rest their souls) never miss an opportunity to vote.

  102. joeldm: August 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    If 98% of your doctors tell you that you have a cancerous wart on your butt do you ignore them because you fear medical procedures or the cost thereof?

    Yes, if they’re orthopedic surgeons and not dermatologists or oncologists.

    And even then, they’ll insist on a biopsy to confirm their diagnosis.

    “You are a No-Go- at the Socratic Method Station.”

  103. Bill Tuttle says:
    August 9, 2010 at 1:40 am
    joeldm: August 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    If 98% of your doctors tell you that you have a cancerous wart on your butt do you ignore them because you fear medical procedures or the cost thereof?

    Yes, if they’re orthopedic surgeons and not dermatologists or oncologists.

    And even then, they’ll insist on a biopsy to confirm their diagnosis.

    “You are a No-Go- at the Socratic Method Station.”

    ———————————————–

    You mean to tell me you understood joeldm’s point (if any)? You’re a better man than I am, sir!

  104. H.R. : August 9, 2010 at 8:55 am
    You man to tell me you understood joeldm’s point (if any)? You’re a better man than I am, sir!

    Not at all, sir, just a bit more experienced at understanding arcane trains of thought — I work with Iraqi pilots…

  105. According to an AP Story by Charles L Hanley in 8/13 Columbus OH Dispatch, “Climate Predictions Ringing True”, http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/national_world/stories/2010/08/13/climate-predictions-ringing-true.html?sid=101 :

    “Researchers last week spotted that a 100-square-mile chunk of ice had calved off from the great Petermann Glacier in Greenland’s far northwest. It was the largest ice island to break away in the Arctic in a half-century of observation.”

    Yet according to the 8/6 UDel press release quoted above, the nearby Ward Hunt Ice Shelf calved off a 230 square mile berg in 1962.

    AP should hire a fact checker!

  106. TomRude says:
    Bet the Globe and Mail will jump on this one….

    Bingo! The Globe was slow, but made up for that with stories on both Aug 12 and 13. In neither case did the story explicitly attribute the event to AGW, but when read in context, the message was clear.

    The first story, after summarizing Muenchow’s account, noted, under the sub-heading ‘THE WEATHER EFFECT’ that the event “follows the six warmest months on record ” and went on to note the melting of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica “faster than predicted” and to quote Representative Markey’s wisdom. The story concluded with info on Russia’s heat wave. The reader’s attention was directed to the article by the headline on the front of the business section “Watching ice melt”.

    Today’s story was an AP item headed “Climate scientists forecast more heat, fires and floods” and after various references to AGW sources, summarized several catastrophes (including heat in Russia) by calling them “key cases [of a] perfect fit” with more extreme weather events due to global warming. Case no. 4 was the calving of the Petermann Glacier, occurring “five months after an international scientific team” reported that “ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet is expanding from the south”.

  107. “Must have been climate change back then too. ” Watts

    Your spin vs. science. And you voted for Bush? And you hate Obama? Maybe you and Sarah and Carl and Dick can protect us from the vast left wing conspiring scientists. Of the whole wide world!

    It started with a hacking November 17, 2009. According to wikipedia, “The climate-sceptic blog Watts Up With That, which had obtained a copy of the files, also received a posting from the hacker complaining that nothing was happening.”

    Michael Mann, director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, said that sceptics were “taking these words totally out of context to make something trivial appear nefarious”,[16] and called the entire incident a careful, “high-level, orchestrated smear campaign to distract the public about the nature of the climate change problem.”[55]

    The Investigatory Committee finally reported on June 4, 2010 “…there is no substance to the allegations against Mann.[15]” The Christian Science Monitor observed: “Climate scientists exonerated in ‘climategate’ but public trust damaged”.

    “Columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned.” Tiffen, University of Sydney

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond directly to your continuing spin.

  108. Look guys,

    The one in 1962, well, it was..

    Well it was just my mum I’m afraid. There were no epidurals back then and I was a 10lb baby and..

    How could we have known that her screams could have broken the arctic glaciers. How could we have known that her single act of selfishness back in 1961 could have changed the world forever.

    p.s.
    Love you mum.
    GISS. If you want to include my mums data record into your own graphs then just let me know how much funding I can get as I may have a better offer from the Romani’s.

  109. Now this has got to be pure coincidence surely or do you think that perhaps the move company The Aslyum have paid some marketing company to promote Assoc. Prof. Andrew Muenchow recent work?

    I’ve just been watching cable TV and was a bit gobsmacked to find this move being shown on the the SyFy channel this morning.

    http://www.cinematical.com/2010/07/28/titanic-ii-trailer-hits-threatens-to-sink-a-ship-and-hearts/

    Yes, Titanic II is a disaster movie (du eto be released in the US next week) which takes place in April 2012, 100 years afer the sinking of the RMS Titanic. A new luxury cruise liner, the Titanic II, has been christened, and is soon to embark on her maiden voyage, on the same route the Titanic took 100 years before.

    During the voyage, the effects of global warming cause a section (teh size of Rhode Island) of a carving glacier in Greenland to break off and to produce an enormous tsunami that sends an iceberg crashing into the Titanic II, leaving it to the same fate of her predecessor.

    Here is the official trailer (Quicktime required) and photos from the film on the ‘The Asylum’ web site

    http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=174

    and here it is also on YouTube

  110. KevinUK – the tragedy of the original Titanic was in the lack of life boats to save everyone. I doubt they would let a ship sail today with that shortcoming. However, for a disaster movie, anything is possible and I guess they had to make this one just “because”.

    Thanks for the warning. I will avoid both sailing on that day and the Syfy channel! ;)

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