NASA Study Finds Glacier Doing Double Time

Dec 04, 2004
NASA Study Finds Glacier Doing Double Time

A NASA-funded study found the world's fastest glacier, Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae, doubled its speed of ice flow between 1997 and 2003. The study provides key evidence of newly discovered relationships between ice sheets, sea level rise and climate warming. The study appears in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
Jakobshavn Isbrae is Greenland's largest outlet glacier, draining 6.5 percent of Greenland's ice sheet area. The stream's near-doubling of ice flow from land into the ocean is important, because this one glacier has increased the rate of sea level rise by approximately four percent of the 20th century rate of increase.

The study used data from satellites and airborne lasers to derive ice movements. Synthetic aperture radar from Canada's RADARSAT and the European Space Agency's European Remote Sensing Satellites' data was used to measure the glacier's velocity. Researchers tracked distinct features in NASA Landsat satellite image pairs to determine velocities.

"Other glaciers have thinned by over a meter a year, which we believe is too much to be attributed to melting alone," said Waleed Abdalati, a senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and co-author of the study. "We think there is a dynamic effect in which the glaciers are accelerating due to warming. This investigation furthers our understanding of ice-climate interactions of planetary systems."

Source: NASA

Explore further: 'Space bubbles' may have aided enemy in fatal Afghan battle

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA air campaigns focus on Arctic climate impacts

Sep 17, 2014

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region's summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at ...

Mars deep down

Aug 19, 2014

Scarring the southern highlands of Mars is one of the Solar System's largest impact basins: Hellas, with a diameter of 2300 km and a depth of over 7 km.

Melt ponds shine in NASA laser altimeter flight images

Aug 05, 2014

Even from 65,000 feet above Earth, aquamarine melt ponds in the Arctic stand out against the white sea ice and ice sheets. These ponds form every summer, as snow that built up on the ice melts, creating crystal ...

Recommended for you

Getting to the root of the problem in space

2 hours ago

When we go to Mars, will astronauts be able to grow enough food there to maintain a healthy diet? Will they be able to produce food in NASA's Orion spacecraft on the year-long trip to Mars? How about growing ...

The difference between CMEs and solar flares

4 hours ago

This is a question we are often asked: what is the difference between a coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar flare? We discussed it in a recent astrophoto post, but today NASA put out a video with amazing graphics that explain ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

4 hours ago

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

Image: NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo

5 hours ago

This picture, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), shows a galaxy known as NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock). Its unusual shape is caused ...

User comments : 0