This large ice sheet then floats into the Arctic Sea, continuing to break apart into two large chunks. This whole spawning event – the scientific term for the breaking of ice sheets in glaciers – was recorded by satellite Copernicus Sentinel.
The broken area was about 80 square kilometers – 60 square kilometers larger than Manhattan.
“Above-normal air temperatures, offshore winds and open water in front of the ice shelf are all part of the reason the ice shelf shattered,” according to the Canadian Ice Service.
A study site on an ice shelf was leveled in this collapse.
Mueller and his team visited the Milne Ice Shelf several times, but this year’s trip was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When the Milne Ice Shelf collapsed, it was capable of bringing fresh water once contained into the salt waters of the Arctic Ocean. Researchers are unsure of the extent of this damage “as this depends on the integrity of the remains of the Milne Ice itself.”
These ice shelves can help limit global sea level rise by acting like a dam, slowing the flow of melted ice and water into the oceans. These large spawning events can also create dangers to the shipping industry by creating large icebergs that essentially pass through the northern oceans.
This is not the first time this year the Canadian Arctic has lost significant ice features.