Greenland's ice melting faster than thought
Greenland’s ice is melting faster than scientists previously believed, according to new findings from a team of researchers from Denmark, Luxembourg and the US, the scientists report their
findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The study revealed that every year, southern Greenland’s glaciers produce a mass of icebergs equivalent to an ice-cube measuring 6.5 kilometres across. Furthermore, the inland ice is
disappearing at an accelerating rate; currently four times as much ice is disappearing as at the beginning of the decade.
‘If this development continues, the melt water from the inland ice will make the world’s seas rise by more than 60 centimetres this century,’ warned Abbas Khan of the Danish National Research
Centre. Dr Khan led the international research team.
The scientists arrived at their conclusions by measuring the uplift of the Earth’s crust on the mountains of the inland ice. The heavy ice sheets which cover most of Greenland literally weigh
down the island. When the ice melts, this pressure is relieved and the land rises up slightly.
The researchers used highly sensitive Global Positioning System (GPS) stations to measure this uplift. They found that the mountains of south east Greenland are rising by between four and five
centimetres per year. Two glaciers alone, Kangerdlugssuaq and the Helheim, accounted for two-thirds of the observed uplift. The remaining third is attributed to ice loss from elsewhere along
the southeast Greenland coast.