Monday, March 17, 2014

Greenland's Ice Loss Nearly Tripled in a Decade

Surface water rushes along the surface of the Greenland ice sheet July 4, 2012. (Credit: Ian Joughin, AP) Click to enlarge.
Sea levels will probably rise more now that the last remaining stable portion of Greenland's ice sheet — the world's second-largest — is no longer stable, a study says.

Scientists have known Greenland's ice sheet has been thinning for decades, but for the first time, they've found that's even occurring in its northeast region that had been stable for 25 years.  Since 2003, the northeast's ice loss has nearly tripled.

"We're seeing an acceleration of ice loss," says study co-author Michael Bevis, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University. "Now, there's more ice leaving than snow arriving."  He says the rapid change in the northeast region "surprised everyone."

The decline of Greenland's ice sheet, which is second in size only to Antarctica's and covers 80% of Greenland's surface, has been a major contributor to global sea level rise over the past 20 years.  The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, says it's accounted for nearly one-sixth of annual sea level rise.

Greenland's Ice Loss Nearly Tripled in a Decade

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