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New Study Shows Greenland’s Ice Loss Accelerating at Unprecedented Rate

Greenland's melting glaciers a stark reminder of the urgent need for climate action

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED STATES: A new model that considers the unique ice-water interaction at the island’s fjords says Greenland’s glaciers are melting nearly 100 times faster than previously thought.

A fjord, also known as a fiord, is a long, narrow inlet with vertical sides or cliffs that a glacier makes.

The recent observations from the new mathematical representation of glacial melt reflect how ice melts away from the vertical faces at the ends of Greenland glaciers. 

In the past, scientists used models created in Antarctica, where glacial slabs float on top of seawater in a completely different arrangement.

Lead author Kirstin Schulz, a research associate at the University of Texas, said that people took the melt rate model for Antarctica’s floating glaciers and applied it to Greenland’s vertical glacier fronts for years.

However, there is increasing evidence that the conventional method results in meagre melt rates at the vertical glacier fronts of Greenland.

The researchers knew their understanding of Arctic glaciers in Antarctica was insufficient. 

However, due to their location at the ends of fjords, it isn’t easy to get close to the glaciers of Greenland.

According to the researchers, this causes dramatic calving events in which tiny pieces of ice the size of buildings fall into the water without warning, causing mini-tsunamis.

Robotic boats have been used by Rutgers University researchers, led by physical oceanographer Rebecca Jackson, to get close to the dangerous ice cliffs and take measurements.

This has been done at the LeConte Glacier in Alaska and the Kangerlussuup Sermia in Greenland. 

Jackson’s measurements suggest that the Antarctica-based models vastly underestimate Arctic glacial melt.

A future mission will send robotic submarines to the faces of three west Greenland glaciers led by researchers at Austin’s University of Texas. 

Models predicted that LeConte would vanish 100 times faster than it does in reality.

The combination of cold new water from the glacial masses and hotter seawater drives sea flow close to the ice sheets and further away in the sea, meaning the liquefy has expansive ramifications. 

The Greenland ice sheet also impacts sea-level rise; There is enough water in the ice of Greenland to raise sea levels by 20 feet (6 meters).

The most recent data from near-glacial missions and a more realistic understanding of how the glaciers’ steep, cliff-like faces affect ice loss are used in the new model.

The results show 100 times more melt than the previous models predicted, which aligns with Jackson’s findings.

“You really want to get them right,” says Schulz because the results of the ocean climate model are highly relevant for humankind to predict trends associated with climate change.

Also Read: Climate Activists Worldwide Deflate Tyres of over 900 SUVs to Protest “Luxury Emission”


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