Greenland Ice Melt ‘Accelerating,’ Climate Change Awakens ‘Sleeping Giant’

By Philip Ross
on March 16 2014 5:45 PM

Greenland is the world’s largest island holds roughly 680,000 cubic miles of ice within its ice sheet. The ice is up to 3 miles thick in some areas and covers about three-fourths of the island. Reuters

Scientists have known for decades that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting, but they may have underestimated just how much water the second-largest ice sheet on the planet is shedding. New research indicates that a key section of northeast Greenland thought to be stable is actually dumping billions of tons of water into the ocean annually after a barrier of ice debris that had blocked its flow finally gave way.

“We’re seeing an acceleration of ice loss,” Michael Bevis, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and co-author of a new study on Greenland’s melting ice sheet, told USA Today. “Now, there’s more ice leaving than snow arriving.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, included the work of an international team of researchers from Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.S. and China. According to AFP, the team measured the thickness of Greenland’s ice using four satellites and a network of 50 GPS sensors along the island’s coast. The monitors calculate the size of the Greenland ice sheet using Earth’s natural elasticity. When ice melts, it relieves pressure on the land underneath it, causing the ground to rebound just slightly. The monitors can sense these small changes.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
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