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Greenland's Melting Ice

Greenland's Melting Ice

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, August 21, 2015/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment, climate change

                 Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland  (credit: Operation Ice Bridge )

Greenland's  Jakobshavn Glacier  has produced another world record...the largest observed collapse of ice in recorded history. Satellite measurements indicate that nearly 5 square miles of ice collapsed into the North Atlantic this month. The collapse is being correlated to temperature anomalies measured throughout the Arctic Ocean since the Spring.

Surface water temperatures ranging between 4-11F degrees above normal have been measured in the 40-50F  waters surrounding Greenland. This increased heat translates into more ice melting as many of the island's glaciers float on the ocean surface and melt from below. NOAA's office of Marine Monitoring and Analysis has developed a map showing degrees of temperature anomaly in mid-August. Darker red colors indicate higher than normal.

           Anomalous Arctic Ocean Temperatures, August 2015  (credit: NOAA )

Jakobshavn Glacier has a recorded history of declining ice since the first measurements were taken in 1851 by Danish mariners just at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The decline has accelerated since 2001.

            Retreat of Jacobshavn Glacier, Greenland, 1851-2014  (credit: Arctic Sea Ice Blog )

Jakobshavn was made famous by the climate change documentary  Chasing Ice  that presented the role of glacier melting to global sea level rise.

Interest in Greenland's melting glaciers will increase as sea level rise continues its unrestrained growth as well.


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