Tag Archives: Ryder Glacier

Petermann and Ryder Glacier Ice Island

Ice island from 2010 and 2012 calvings litter Nares Strait and northern Baffin Island, Canada. All these glacier fragments originate from Petermann and Ryder Gletscher in north-west Greenland. The image below is a composite that Luc Desjardins of the Canadian Ice Service compiled from RadarSat imagery. He painstakingly identified 25 segments in these imagery.

Ice Islands and fragments from Petermann and Ryder glacier 2010 and 2012 calvings. [Credit: Luc Desjardings, Canadian Ice Service]

The largest piece is PII-2012-A1 and it covers an area a little less than 2 Manhattans (100 km^2). We see it in Kane Basin for several weeks now as it pivots back and forth with the tides around the point where it is stuck to the bottom of the ocean. The second largest piece is RII-2012 roughly half the size of Manhattan (33 km^2) and it originates from Ryder Gletscher which is to the north by north-east of Petermann Gletscher. Trudy Wohleben identified this piece when it was entered Nares Strait from the north about 4 weeks ago and together we traced it back to Ryder Gletscher where it had lingered for several years. RII-2012 is now moving rapidly south and is about exit Nares Strait to enter Baffin Bay:

Two of these ice island send their position several time each day with the data made available at for PII-2010-B-a (9 km^2) and for PII-2012-A2 (13 km^2). The last piece broke off from Petermann on July 16, 2012 and it entered Nares Strait in August when we passed it during our explorations of Petermann Fjord on Aug. 10/11, 2012 aboard the CCGS Henry Larsen:

Canadian Coast Guard Ship Henry Larsen at the entrance to Petermann Fjord on Aug.-10, 2012. The ice island PII-2012 is in the background with puddles on sea ice in the foreground. Polaris Bay, Greenland is in the far back. [Photo Credit: CCGS Henry Larsen and Jo Poole.]