Greenland loses its ice cover six times faster than it did in the 1980s, say the scientists from the University of California. their recent publication in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers to take a look at the figures and analysis of the melting process and its pace over three decades.
Greenland’s melting pace is worrisome because if the rate of ice melt speeds up further year to year. In the perspective, such losses could be dangerous for the ecological system of the region, said the team of researchers from UoC who have recalculated the amount of ice loss in Greenland since 1972.
Thanks to the satellite images, the massive Danish island became closer and more understandable for the group of glaciologists led by Eric Rignot. The first method makes use of satellites that measure altitude with a laser. The satellite picks up the reduced height of the melting glaciers. The second technique involves measuring changes in gravity because the loss of ice can be detected thru a decrease in gravitational pull. This second technique has been in practice since 2002 using NASA satellites.
The results of their study help experts put dramatic changes to Greenland’s contribution to global sea level rise into a longer-term context. Combined with the rate of ice melt in Antarctica, the findings portend a bleak future.
Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than ever
Rignot’s findings provide experts with a longer-term view of the rapid ice melt that has occurred in Greenland in recent years. The limited data from the 70s and 80s available as aerial photos, medium-quality satellite photos, ice cores, and other observations helped refine scientists’ calculations.
that data showed that during the 1970s, Greenland accumulated 47 gigatonnes of ice per year on average. In the 1980s, Greenland then lost an equivalent volume. By the 1990s, the rate of melting continued before it accelerated in the 2000s at 187 gigatonnes of ice per year and increasing more in 2010 at 286 gigatonnes of ice per year.
“When you look at several decades, it is best to sit back in your chair before looking at the results, because it is a bit scary to see how fast it is changing,” said Rignot and added that the study explain why global sea level rise has significantly increased in the past decades.