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Huge Ice Island headed for oil platforms and shipping lanes...

STOCKHOLM – An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily
trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in

It's been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week — creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century — may symbolize a warming world like no other.

"It's so big that you can't prevent it from drifting. You can't stop it," said Jon-Ove Methlie Hagen, a glaciologist at the University of Oslo.

Few images can capture the world's climate fears like a 100-square- mile (260-sqare-kilometer) chunk of ice breaking off Greenland's vast ice sheet, a reservoir of freshwater that
if it collapsed would raise global sea levels by a devastating 20 feet
(6 meters).

The world's newest ice island already is being used as a powerful emblem in the global warming debate, with U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts suggesting it could serve as a home for climate change skeptics.

Researchers are in a scramble to plot the trajectory of the floating ice shelf, which is moving toward the Nares Strait separating Greenland's northwestern coast and Canada's Ellsemere Island.

If it makes it into the strait before the winter freeze — due to start next month — it would likely be carried south by ocean currents, hugging Canada's east coast until it enters waters busy
with oil activities and shipping off Newfoundland.

"That's where it starts to become dangerous," said Mark Drinkwater, of the European Space Agency.

The Canadian Ice Service estimates the journey will take one to two years. It's likely to break up as it bumps into other icebergs and jagged islands. The fragments would be further ground down
by winds and waves and would start to melt as they move into warmer

"But the fragments may still be quite large," warned Trudy Wohlleben, a Canadian ice forecaster, who first spotted the massive chunk of ice on satellite images last Thursday.

The chunks of ice could be large enough to threaten Canada's offshore platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, said Wohlleben.

And, while it's possible to redirect smaller icebergs, by towing them or spraying them with water cannons, "I don't think they could do that with an iceberg this large," she said. "They
would have to physically move the rig."

Moving an offshore platform is time-consuming and expensive — and very complicated in cases where they are fixed to the ocean floor.

While Greenland's glaciers break off thousands of icebergs into Arctic waters every year, scientists say this ice island is the biggest in the northern hemisphere since 1962.

It contains enough freshwater to keep the Hudson River flowing for more than two years, said Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware.

The drifting ice sheet is likely to remain at the heart of the global warming discussion during its journey.

While experts say it's difficult to directly tie the giant ice island to climate change because there are so many factors that affect glaciers in the area, the unusual event coincides with
worrisome signs of warming in the Arctic.

Since 1970, temperatures have risen more than 4.5 degrees (2.5 degrees C) in much of the Arctic — much faster than the global average. In June
the Arctic sea ice cover was at the lowest level for that month since
records began in 1979, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The retreat of Greenland's glaciers, which has accelerated in recent years, is one of the least understood pieces of the climate puzzle.

A team of climate scientists who visited the Petermann glacier last year, expecting it to crack then, is now planning another trip within

"We did leave behind a couple of time-lapse cameras and 11 GPS (devices). Now we are scrambling to get up there and recover the data,"
said Jason Box, an expert on Greenland glaciers from the Byrd Polar
Research Center at Ohio State University.

Box and two British researchers traveled to the glacier last year with Greenpeace activists who offered space aboard their ship, the Arctic
Sunrise, to scientists studying climate change.

They were hoping to capture the event with cameras rolling, which would have been a powerful image just months before the Copenhagen climate
talks that failed to produce a binding treaty to reduce heat-trapping
gas emissions.

"It would have been nice if it had broken off last year," said Melanie Duchin, who led that Greenpeace expedition. "I mean ice melting, it
doesn't get any simpler than that."

Still, she finds it ironic that the Petermann breakup coincides with another catastrophe linked to fossil fuels. The Arctic Sunrise is now in
the Gulf of Mexico, surveying the massive oil spill from the Deepwater
Horizon blowout.


Associated Press Writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.

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Comment by Judiann on August 21, 2010 at 11:08am
Huge ice island heading toward Canada
Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:31PM
Comment by Carmen Funcia on August 21, 2010 at 10:37am
Comment by Whispergently on August 12, 2010 at 12:08pm
Hi Firewoman, you know this world has been given so many signs of the times of change and this is just another one Press Report to instill fear in us. In this world we live in fear is the biggest factor at work right now, our governments with their wrangling and socializing and their uppity noses just don't care all they know is that they have a pocketfull of money and be damned the poor of this world. We have bent backwards to feed their big derriere's and they still can't get enough of sucking everything out of us. I talking big Corporate world, haven't we done enough it is time we take a stand and snub our noses at Corporations and take back our jobs that have become so demanding and meaningless, I for one have given 100% to my employer and he is transitioning me out because I no longer am an Ass-et (they are the Ass and I'm the et that will stay at home and enjoy the luxury of not working, I've worked enough for them) for him, I'm now considered a Liability because of the illness that I've been given through working for the big butts that sit at their desks in Toronto and come to the north to pass judgement on us. We are fine people of the North and we will keep our resources here in the North.

See I've taken it all of topic just to point out, I too can play at your heart strings and gain your understanding, but you (Firewoman) know me better, we've had hard times and good times are in the future, rest assured that there is a God and this report is just a little sign that things are going to change for the better, our lakes are drying up here in the north, we need water to refill those lakes so in a sense it's a blessing, we need at least 5'2" of water to regain our depth that we had previously when the rain took its normal pathway and filled our rivers. A little outside of NorthBay Ontario, near cut off to Sturgeon Falls they have erected a sign that shows "that from this point on all waters flow north", yes, I'm a northern Ontario resident, who's seen unemployment drastically rise in our City, City is booming, City is spending like crazy. Lol, I laugh when I say Crazy, I think of the song, Crazy for being so meeeeee. lol. But one thing that will instill fear in a whole lot of people is the SmartMeters that Hydro has installed in our City, some are going to be blown away by the price they will have to pay in regards to their usage if they did not honor their contract with a company called "Just Energy", yea their aim is to reduce consumption, they are in collusion with Hydro so that they can sell more Hydro to the United States who see's their usage increased tenfold because a rise in population.

I would like everyone to submit a request to their government officials that they start the implementation of reducing the amount of dams being built they are stopping the normal course of God's gift to us WATER. We would have water shortage if that massive ice chunk hadn't broken off. Now with a mild winter we'll see the increase required to better water here in the North, always said China needs to release the water at three Gorges Dam otherwise it can create a huge imbalance in our ecological system if that dam were to suddenly spring too many leaks, already there are many, that amount of water bursting out of its enclosure would even affect us here in Ontario, we would feel the shift of the earth because the volume of water that would burst forward would be a volume too hard for Mother Earth to handle all at once, so bear in mind everything happens for a reason and this is just another of God's Blessing.

Take care, thanks for allowing me to rant
Love you All
Comment by Susan George on August 12, 2010 at 9:44am
Great Spirit help us to come together in community to change our direction to Peace, Beauty, and to Your Guidance! So be it!
Comment by Stephen Bamford on August 12, 2010 at 4:17am
Thanks for this addition to the story. I appreciate it. NASA has a web page on it as I recall, but the part about the oil platforms is a piece of the puzzle I was not aware of. If you haven't already seen it, is worth having a look at. Many blessings to you and yours.
Comment by Judiann on August 11, 2010 at 11:16pm
Thank you for posting this. I was reading about this earlier and just shaking my head in disbelief that so many just don't seem to get it. (even under the roof I'm sitting under) Other than ya'll there is really no one I know who I can share information like this with, or who are willing to even discuss it in a sane way. Guess all that is left is to just to keep praying. Hope and love to all of you also.
Comment by Firewoman on August 11, 2010 at 11:00pm
I am sad that this is happening but it seems mother earth is starting to set the balance back so in the long run whether humans like it or not their oil supply they are so addicted to is not going to be as accessible...I flash back to the movie Avatar.
Hope and love, Firewoman
Comment by Thomas Sasquatch Spirit on August 11, 2010 at 10:54pm
It makes me sick to my stomach to see all these people panic over something they've been warned about for decades if not a century by now. That's the problem with the roman empire thinking they all subscribe to, they don't worry about a problem til it's too late to do anything about. Then they want to cry about it and when one side of the fence tries to correct the problem the other side cries about the cost. It's so true what offworlders say about humans. Physically age 70 to 90 years but only age mentally about 6 months..........nuff said

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