Friday, May 4, 2012

Greenland glaciers speed up, swelling rising seas

Deborah Zabarenko in Reuters: Some of Greenland's glaciers are moving about 30 percent faster than they did 10 years ago, contributing to rising global sea levels, but that still may not be enough to reach the most extreme projections for 2100, scientists reported on Thursday.

Researchers have been monitoring the big ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica for decades as one indication of the impact of human-spurred climate change. Made of compacted snow, these glaciers can move toward the sea, and when they get there, they dump water into the oceans around them. The faster they move, the more water they add, and the higher the oceans get.

Not all glaciers move at the same pace, according to Twila Moon and her co-authors at the University of Washington and Ohio State University, whose research is published in the current issue of the journal Science.

Inland glaciers with no outlet to the sea poke along at top speeds of 30 to 325 feet a year, the researchers found, while those that end at the ocean can travel 7 miles a year.

The glaciers that flow to the sea around Greenland are the ones to watch, Moon said in a telephone interview, because that is where four-fifths of the loss of ice in Greenland occurs....

Greenland, Kong Oscar Fjord, Glaciers. Shot by Jerzy Strzelecki, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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