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Greenland's Icebergs In A Warming World (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 08/15/11 09:32 AM ET   Updated: 10/15/11 06:12 AM ET

ILULISSAT, Greenland (AP) -- Greenland's Inuit people have countless terms in their language to describe ice in all its varieties. This gallery of photographs by AP's Brennan Linsley likewise is something of a visual vocabulary for the striking and beautiful forms ice takes on and around the giant Arctic island.

Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers are melting more and more as the world warms, sending gushing water and towering icebergs into the sea, threatening to raise ocean levels worldwide in the years and decades to come. Researchers are hard at work trying to gauge how much will melt and when.

Some of the most spectacular icebergs are calved from the 6-kilometer-wide (4-mile-wide) Jakobshavn Glacier near this town on the west central coast, icebergs that push out into the 50-kilometer-long (30-mile-long) Ilulissat Ice Fjord, and then into Disko Bay and eventually the North Atlantic.

The ice, much of it tens of thousands of years old, originates in the 1.7-million-square-kilometer (660,000-square-mile) ice sheet covering 80 percent of Greenland.

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  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 18, 2011 photo, a boat steers slowly through floating ice, and around icebergs, all shed from the Greenland ice sheet, outside Ilulissat, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 18, 2011 photo, icebergs shed from the Greenland ice sheet float near Ilulissat, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 26, 2011 photo, a melting iceberg floats along a fjord leading away from the edge of the Greenland ice sheet near Nuuk, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 26, 2011 photo, a melting iceberg floats along a fjord leading away from the edge of the Greenland ice sheet near Nuuk, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 19, 2011 photo, pools of melted ice form atop Jakobshavn Glacier, near the edge of the vast Greenland ice sheet. Greenland is the focus of many researchers trying to determine how much its melting ice may raise sea levels. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 19, 2011 photo, floating ice fills a series of inlets at the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, outside Ilulissat, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    This July 17, 2011 photo shows the muddy melting front of a glacier near the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, outside Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 18, 2011 photo, floating ice, left over from broken-up icebergs shed from the Greenland ice sheet, nearly cover the seafront in Ilulissat, Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 19, 2011 photo, rows of pressure ridges stack up, foreground, before tumbling over the ever-collapsing calving 6-kilometer- (4-mile-) wide front of Jakobshavn Glacier and into the Ilulissat ice fjord, background, in Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    In this July 19, 2011 photo, a large melt pool forms in the Ilulissat ice fjord below the Jakobshavn Glacier, at the fringe of the vast Greenland ice sheet. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • Greenland Ice Gallery

    This July 26, 2011 aerial photo shows the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, right, adjacent to a series of lakes in central Greenland. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |