Melting glacier worries scientists

Jul 25, 2005

Scientists monitoring a Greenland glacier have found it is moving into the sea three times faster than a decade ago, The Independent reported Monday.

Satellite measurements of the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier indicate it is dramatically shrinking -- probably due to climate change,

The glacier on Greenland's east coast is about 3,280 feet thick, 4 1/2 miles wide, extends more than 20 miles into the ice sheet and drains about 4 percent of the Greenland ice sheet.

The rate at which glacial ice melts is important. For example, if the Greenland ice sheet melted, it would raise sea levels by up to 23 feet, inundating large areas of low-lying land, including London and much of eastern England.

Measurements taken in 1988 and in 1996 indicated the glacier was moving at a rate of between 3.1 and 3.7 miles annually. Measurements taken this summer show it's now moving at 8.7 miles a year.

Gordon Hamilton, professor of Earth sciences Maine University's Climate Change Institute, told the Independent: "This is a dramatic discovery. These new results suggest the loss of ice from the Greenland ice sheet ... could be larger and faster than previously estimated."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Earthquakes over 5 magnitude shake Iceland volcano

Aug 24, 2014

Two earthquakes measuring over 5 in magnitude—the biggest yet—have shaken Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano after the country issued an aviation red alert warning that an ash-emitting eruption may be imminent.

Volcanic eruption begins under Iceland glacier

Aug 23, 2014

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the country's largest glacier after a week of seismic activity rattled the area with thousands of earthquakes, the country's Meteorological Office ...

Airlines on alert as eruption begins in Iceland

Aug 23, 2014

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano burst forth with a small eruption Saturday under the ice of Europe's largest glacier, scientists said, prompting the country to close airspace over the area.

Retreat of Yakutat Glacier

Aug 21, 2014

Located in the Brabazon Range of southeastern Alaska, Yakutat Glacier is one of the fastest retreating glaciers in the world. It is the primary outlet for the 810-square kilometer (310-square mile) Yakutat ...

Missing from New Zealand's ski slopes? Snow

Aug 05, 2014

Winter has rolled into its third month in New Zealand, and Nick Jarman says he's going stir crazy as he stares out at the driving rain on the small ski area he manages in the Southern Alps.

Recommended for you

Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

5 hours ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

7 hours ago

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

12 hours ago

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0