Greenland's Petermann Glacier
Oblique view of the Petermann glacier front on 24 July 2009. byrd polar research center

Scientists say the disintegration of the Petermann Glacier -- measuring 186 miles long and 3,280 feet high -- may just be the tip of the iceberg concerning climate change's impact in colder zones.

New photographs show the quick pace at which the massive ice sheet has shrunk over the past two years. Last year, a swath of ice measuring 77 square miles separated and a further piece twice the size of Manhattan could break off in the next year, according to Dr. Alun Hubbard of Aberystwth University, who has been monitoring the Greenland ice sheet for some years.

In 2009, scientists placed GPS masts on the glacier to track its movement, ahead of the major break off of ice that eventually occurred on August 3, 2010. Greenland's glaciers have lost an accumulative 592.6 square miles over the past decade, according to a report in the Annals of Glaciology journal, published on August 22.

An Enormous Break-Off

Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the break-up, which rendered me speechless, Hubbard said in a statement issued by the Byrd Polar Research Center.

Hubbard told MSNBC that last year's break off was bigger than anything seen for at least 150 years.

With abnormally high temperatures hitting Northern Greenland, Hubbard said the melting ice is a definite consequence of climate change and global warming.