Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glub glub blub berbble bubble....

The Greenland ice sheet is losing its mass faster than in previous years and making an increasing contribution to sea level rise, a study has confirmed.

Published in the journal Science, it has also given scientists a clearer view of why the sheet is shrinking.

The team used weather data, satellite readings and models of ice sheet behaviour to analyse the annual loss of 273 thousand million tonnes of ice.

Melting of the entire sheet would raise sea levels globally by about 7m (20ft).


Another analysis of satellite data, published in September, showed that of 111 fast-moving Greenland glaciers studied, 81 were thinning at twice the rate of the slow-moving ice beside them.

This indicates that the glaciers are accelerating and taking more ice into the surrounding sea.

Melting on the ice sheet's surface acts as a feedback mechanism, Dr van den Broeke explained, because the liquid water absorbs more and reflects less of the incoming solar radiation - resulting in a heating of the ice.

"Over the last 10 years, it's quite simple; warming over Greenland has caused the melting to increase, and that's set off this albedo feedback process," he told BBC News.

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