AUSTIN, Texas — Scientists using ice-penetrating radar data collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge and earlier airborne campaigns have built the first comprehensive map of layers deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet, opening a window on past climate conditions and the ice sheet’s potentially perilous future. (more…)
Tag Archives: greenland ice sheet
The Greenland Ice Sheet is a 1.7 million-square-kilometer, 2-mile thick layer of ice that covers Greenland. Its fate is inextricably linked to our global climate system.
In the last 40 years, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased four-fold contributing to one-quarter of global sea level rise. Some of the increased melting at the surface of the ice sheet is due to a warmer atmosphere, but the ocean’s role in driving ice loss largely remains a mystery. (more…)
A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.
The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (more…)
Over the past two decades, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased four-fold contributing to one-quarter of global sea level rise. However, the chain of events and physical processes that contributed to it has remained elusive. One likely trigger for the speed up and retreat of glaciers that contributed to this ice loss is ocean warming.
A review paper by physical oceanographers Fiamma Straneo at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Patrick Heimbach at MIT published in Nature explains what scientists have learned from their research on and around Greenland over the past 20 years and describes the measurements and technology needed to continue to move the science forward. (more…)
Potential for Storing Meltwater Important for Calculating Sea-Level Rise
Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered a new aquifer in the Greenland Ice Sheet that holds liquid water all year long in the otherwise perpetually frozen winter landscape. The aquifer is extensive, covering 27,000 square miles.
The reservoir is known as a “perennial firn aquifer” because water persists within the firn – layers of snow and ice that don’t melt for at least one season. Researchers believe it figures significantly in understanding the contribution of snowmelt and ice melt to rising sea levels. (more…)
Last July, something unprecedented in the 34-year satellite record happened: 98 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface melted, compared to roughly 50 percent during an average summer. Snow that usually stays frozen and dry turned wet with melt water. Research led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences now shows last summer’s extreme melt could soon be the new normal.
“Greenland is warming rapidly, and such ice-sheet-wide, surface-melt events will occur more frequently over the next couple of decades,” said Dan McGrath, a University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student who works at CIRES. McGrath is lead author of a paper published online May 20 in Geophysical Research Letters and which reports a significant warming trend on the Greenland Ice Sheet. (more…)
All living organisms rely on iron as an essential nutrient. In the ocean, iron’s abundance or scarcity means all the difference as it fuels the growth of plankton, the base of the ocean’s food web.
A new study by biogeochemists and glaciologists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) identifies a unexpectedly large source of iron to the North Atlantic – meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets, which may stimulate plankton growth during spring and summer. This source is likely to increase as melting of the Greenland ice sheet escalates under a warming climate. (more…)
Analysis of Greenland Ice Cores Adds to Historical Record and May Provide Glimpse into Climate’s Future
The International North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project results indicate that melting of Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea level rise than melting of the Greeland ice sheet some 100,000 years ago
A new study that provides surprising details on changes in Earth’s climate from more than 100,000 years ago indicates that the last interglacial–the period between “ice ages”–was warmer than previously thought and may be a good analog for future climate, as greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere and global temperatures rise.
The research findings also indicate that melting of the massive West Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea-level rise at that time than melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (more…)