This Greenland Glacier Lost a ‘Mountain Range’ Worth of Ice in the Last Month

The village of Ilulissat is seen near the icebergs that broke off from the Jakobshavn Glacier on July 24, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For those who sleep soundly at night by telling themselves they’ll be long gone by the time climate change matters: Environmentalist Bill McKibben points us toward glacier-watchers reporting that a gigantic one in Greenland has lost up to ten cubic kilometers in less than 30 days. Greenland, that’s far away, right? And what’s a cubic kilometer anyway?

Writes Robert Scribbler:

Think of something the size of a mountain. Now multiply that by ten and you end up with a veritable mountain range. Think of it. An entire mountain range of ice. That’s a good rough comparison to the volume of ice lost from just a single Greenland glacier over the course of a mere 26 days from May 7 to June 1 of 2014.

He also notes that the glacier, named Jakobshavn, contains “enough ice to raise global sea levels by 1.5 feet all by itself.”

In 2010, when Jakobshavn lost a seven-square kilometer section, NASA noted, “The chunk of lost ice is roughly one-eighth the size of Manhattan Island, New York.” Calving, as it’s called, looks something like this:

Except ten cubic kilometers is way more than that.