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: Planck helps to understand the macrostructure of the universe

Related Stories

Antarctica's retreating ice may re-shape Earth

Feb 27, 2015

(AP)—From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging underfoot to re-shape Earth.

Extreme science in the Arctic

Feb 25, 2015

A research team from Northwestern University was dropped by helicopter in the desolate wilderness of Greenland with four weeks of provisions and the goal of collecting ancient specimens preserved in Arctic lakebeds.

Recommended for you

Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

6 hours ago

An unusually brief total eclipse of the Moon will be visible before dawn this Saturday, April 4th, from western North America. The eclipse happens on Saturday evening for Australia and East Asia.

Cassini: Return to Rhea

19 hours ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.