Saturday, September 24, 2016

Greenland Is Losing More Ice Than Scientists Thought

Bad news keeps flowing for the icy landscapes of the world.

Using new measurements, scientists have discovered that Greenland's ice sheet is losing more mass than previously thought. (Credit: Rita Willaert/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Rising temperatures are melting ice and sending it to the ocean, a process that is pushing sea levels higher and altering the landscape at both poles.  The latest news comes from Greenland, where researchers have used high-tech satellite and GPS measurements to see how much mass the ice sheet is losing.

Their results, published this week in Science Advances, indicate that it’s melting faster than previous estimates, particularly in areas where the ice sheet comes in direct contact with the ocean.  It’s a troubling finding for the future of coastal areas around the world.

The Greenland ice sheet contains enough water that, if melted, would raise sea levels up to 23 feet.  Rising temperatures have already eaten away at it, and Greenland’s ice sheet is responsible for about 30 percent of the observed foot of sea level rise since the start of the 20th century.  While the rest of the ice sheet isn’t going to disappear overnight, it’s fate is intimately tied to the fate of communities along the coast.

“Greenland is one of the more pronounced contributors to sea level rise,” Michael Willis, a remote sensing expert at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and co-author of the study, said.  “In order to know how Greenland’s ice may change in the future, we need to focus on the areas where the changes have occurred over both short and long time periods.”

Read more at Greenland Is Losing More Ice Than Scientists Thought

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