Friday, August 11, 2006

Greenland Ice Sheet melting three times faster

The Greenland Ice Sheet which holds about 2.85 million cubic kilometres of ice - 10% of the world's ice mass, may be melting three times faster than previous estimates according to scientists from the University of Texas. From New Scientist:
"This is a good study which confirms that indeed the Greenland ice sheet is losing a large amount of mass and that the mass loss is increasing with time," says Eric Rignot, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, who led a separate study that reached a similar conclusion earlier in 2006. His team used satellites to measure the velocity of glacier movement and calculate net ice loss.

Yet another technique, which uses a laser to measure the altitude of the surface, determined that the ice sheet was losing about 80 cubic kilometres of ice annually between 1997 and 2003. The newer measurements suggest the ice loss is three times that.
If all of the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to melt, it will increase the average sea level about 6.5 metres and wipe out small low-lying islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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