"A new crack in one of Greenland's largest glaciers has scientists' attention By Brandon Miller, CNN Meteorologist Updated 9:31 PM ET, Mon April 17, 2017 Now Playing See glaciers melt before... Source: CNN See glaciers melt before your eyes 01:24 Story highlights Scientist's tweets lead to examination of a new crack in Greenland's Petermann Glacier Greenland's glaciers play a role in Earth's rising sea levels, so a crack is concerning (CNN)Something caught Stef Lhermitte's eye last week as he pored over satellite images of Northwest Greenland's Petermann Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in Greenland. "I saw a small line and thought 'that seems new,' " said Lhermitte as he described the discovery he made, almost by accident, as he was testing a methodology to detect melt that requires making animated GIFs from the black and blue grainy images of Greenland captured by the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite. Lhermitte, an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, checked other satellite records and determined the crack showed up in July 2016, but to his knowledge, had not been noticed by anyone. Greenland is responsible for about one-third of the sea-level rise the Earth is experiencing, so a new crack and potential breaking off of one its largest glaciers is concerning. Google/Sentinel-2 Perfect timing Lhermitte took his findings directly to Twitter, tweeting several images of the crack and searching for help determining its significance. "Several of my initial tweets have question marks at the end. ... I had a hypothesis but was not sure," Lhermitte said. His tweets caught the attention of NASA's program scientist for the cryosphere, Tom Wagner, who directs NASA's polar research. Wagner pointed them out to a member of his team, Joe MacGregor. MacGregor was in Greenland leading a unique research campaign called Operation IceBridge, which makes low-level flights over Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets to create 3-D views of the ice with the intent of understanding its rapid changes. MacGregor said Wagner emailed him, "asking if we had flown over this area where the crack was spotted." As fate would have it, Operation IceBridge had one flight left over Petermann Glacier for this year's mission, and it was scheduled for the next day. The crack Lhermitte found was only a few hundred meters from the planned flight path for the last flight, a flight MacGregor said was "already going to be the most important flyover of Petermann Glacier." "Everything came together perfectly," MacGregor said. "Even the weather cooperated," as sunny skies provided a crystal-clear picture of the ice surface below. The Operation IceBridge flight confirmed the existence of the crack and scientists were able to map the area in detail using sophisticated onboard equipment. An alarming trend The newly discovered crack is significant because it is farther upstream from the glacier's terminus than previously discovered cracks. The farther upstream the crack, along with eventual calving -- when a piece breaks off -- of the glacier into an ice island, the more unstable it would make the ice sheet. The glacier acts as a barrier between the ice sheet and the open ocean and as the glacier retreats and large portions of ice calve off into the ocean, the less resistance these glaciers provide, which speeds up the contribution to sea-level rise from the land ice. "
It oddly quoted wayyyy more than I asked for.
Anyway, it is an alarming trend that is happening. We'll have to deal with what happens in the long run which might not be too long into the future.