Climate Change

A giant crack that is now 7 miles long and about half a mile wide is spreading in part of a massive glacier in northern Greenland, worrying scientists that a major portion of the largest floating glacier in the Northern Hemisphere could fall apart within a year. The crack is in a huge chunk of ice almost the size of Chittenden County that broke off the Petermann glacier in July. "As we see this phenomenon occurring further and further north -- and Petermann is as far north as you can get --

A giant crack that is now 7 miles long and about half a mile wide is spreading in part of a massive glacier in northern Greenland, worrying scientists that a major portion of the largest floating glacier in the Northern Hemisphere could fall apart within a year. The crack is in a huge chunk of ice almost the size of Chittenden County that broke off the Petermann glacier in July. "As we see this phenomenon occurring further and further north -- and Petermann is as far north as you can get -- it certainly adds to the concern," Waleed Abdalati, director of the Center for the Study of Earth from Space at the University of Colorado, told The Associated Press. Scientists are studying whether the glacier fracture is part of normal stress or an effect of global warming. In the south of Greenland, the fastest retreating glacier in the world, set new records for how far it has moved inland, according to satellite images.

There are other ominous signs of global warming in the Arctic. The amount of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to the lowest point since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. With about three weeks left in the summer, this year could wind up breaking the previous record, scientists said.