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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Iceberg Calving and Glacial Dynamics

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, January 21, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, environment, climate change


                      Greenland  Fjord Developing from Retreating Jakobshavn Glacier 1851-2014 (credit: NASA)

If you ever wondered what was involved with the dramatic glacial events known as "calving", two videos illustrate the fluid dynamics:

In the acclaimed documentary film, Chasing Ice, the largest recorded calving event was captured by a field researchers. The team was monitoring their stationary video cameras focused on icebergs calving off the leading face of the frozen river, Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier:

New research at Emory University demonstrates the physical interactions of ice and water during a calving event. When a plastic model iceberg breaks off a "glacier" after reaching a tipping point, the waves ripple against both glacier's top and bottom. A feedback loop is created that can accelerate the process:

Measurements of the Jakobshavn Glacier show its visual progress in the recent NASA satellite image. You can expect more glacial retreating in Greenland and elsewhere as climate change accelerates heating of both the atmosphere and the oceans.



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