Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ice island the size of Manhattan floating towards Canada - 22nd July 2011

A Manhattan-sized chunk of ice is drifting towards the coast of Canada - providing a stunning sight for tourists, but posing a potentially serious threat to shipping.

The 20-square-mile chunk of ice broke off a glacier in Greenland nearly a year ago and is headed towards the Newfoundland coast.

It was formed when a 97-square-mile chunk of ice broke off the Petermann Glacier on August 5, 2010, possibly due to warming of the Atlantic Ocean.

The ice island - at roughly 6.2 miles long and 3.1 miles wide the largest single chunk remaining from the massive parent chunk - has been winding its way through Arctic waters ever since.

In the past few days, it has been moving south at a rate of 5 to 6 miles per hour.

The Canadian Ice Service, a department of Environment Canada, has been tracking the movement of the ice island.

On Thursday, it was about 11.5 miles off the Labrador coast, drifting toward Newfoundland, said Lionel Hache, senior ice forecaster with Ottawa-based agency.

Mr Hache said it was hard to project what course the ice island would take because it was following the water current.

He said: 'The general direction is south but not in a straight line.

'You have different branches of the current. One of the branches could bring it toward shore, other branches could move it further offshore.'

It's unlikely the ice island will get too close to shore because it would probably be 'grounded' — meaning it would touch the bottom of the ocean — before reaching the coast, Mr Hache said.

He warned it could interfere with shipping lanes and possibly threaten some offshore oil rigs. Read More