This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. Scientist speculated that we are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead.
It was the largest such break in nearly three decades, casting an ice floe with an area of 66 square km (25 square miles) adrift in the Arctic Ocean. To bring things into perspective, Manhattan has an area of 61 square km (24 square miles). The mass is now 50 square km (19 square miles) in size.
The Arctic is all frozen up for the winter and it's stuck in the sea ice about 50 km (30 miles) off the coast. The risk is that next summer, as that sea ice melts, this large ice island can then move itself around off the coast and one potential path for it is to make its way westward toward the Beaufort Sea, and the Beaufort Sea is where there is lots of oil and gas exploration, oil rigs and shipping.