New break in Greenland’s largest ice shelf signals rapid melting

GCAPTAIN | As the summer melt season reaches its peak, the largest Arctic ice shelf has jettisoned a piece of ice twice the size of Manhattan.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland reported on Monday that the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream has lost more than 19 square miles (50 square kilometers) for the second year in a row. The giant glacier has now been reduced by 60 square miles in the past two decades.

Ice shelves are a barrier that prevent land-based glaciers from sliding into the ocean, where they go on to melt and contributed to rising sea levels. When those structures weaken and disintegrate, as the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream has now done, glacier movement picks up.

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