Researchers from NYU have compressed a glacier's breakdown into a stunning 90 seconds of destruction. The collapse, scientifically known as a calving, shows what global sea-rise looks like in real time.
The event, which in real time lasted around half an hour, shows a four-mile iceberg breaking away from the Helheim glacier in eastern Greenland. The video of the calving, which shows the glacier breaking off into the ocean and took place on June 22, offers a first-hand look at the effects of global warming.
“Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise. The better we understand what’s going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change," says Denise Holland, a logistics coordinator for NYU who filmed the destruction, in a .
Like any land mass, the Helheim Glacier has a topography all its own. NYU researchers captured a wide and flat iceberg, known as a tabular, separate from the glacier. While that's happening, tall and thing icebergs called pinnacle bergs calve off and flip upside down.
Seeing how different types of iceberg react during the calving process helps scientists better process what will happen. “The range of these different iceberg formation styles helps us build better computer models for simulating and modeling iceberg calving,” Holland explains.
Capturing icebergs calving is always a dramatic event. If the video above is intriguing, it's worth checking out the 2012 documentary Chasing Ice.