Crew members assemble two metal sculptures created by Dutch artist Ap Verheggen near the town of Uummannaq in western Greenland on March 22. The sculptures are now at the bottom of the ocean. ((Reuters))

Sculptures by Dutch artist Ap Verheggen are sitting under 500 metres of water, after the iceberg on which they were placed melted too quickly.

Verheggen set the two sculptures Dog Sled Riders adrift on an iceberg off Greenland to draw attention to climate change.

But global warming happened a little too quickly for the artist, whose project is supported by the World Wildlife Fund.

The iceberg was to take several years to float down the Davis Strait to Newfoundland and Labrador, after calving from the Greenland glacier in March.

But an average high temperature record for the Arctic was set in May and the iceberg collapsed in a matter of months.

Last week the iceberg was seen floating off Uummannaq, a tiny island in the northwest of Greenland, but on Thursday, the iceberg collapsed.

As of Tuesday, the statues have been spotted in about 500 metres of water, according to the website that monitors their progress.

Verheggen says the sculptures' rapid sinking simply adds to his point.

"The impact that's happening now is way more than we could believe. That's what we wanted to tell people with this art project, 'Guys, look how rapidly it's going.'  But the facts overruled it and there's way more impact than we could believe," he said.

The curvy, five-metre long sculptures depict the outline of an Inuit directing a dog sled team with a long whip, in homage to an Inuit way of life that is disappearing because of climate change.

Verheggen said he now plans to repeat the project with a Canadian iceberg.

With files from The Canadian Press