Global warming is melting the polar ice caps. Yet it is still not understood we do not know how fast it is melting. However a recent study has revealed how ignorant we are about understanding this massive expanse of ice and the fact that it may be melting at a much faster rate than earlier estimated.
Data provided by NASA are being studied by studied by a group of scientists in a fresh new study to understand the massive Greenland ice sheet. The second largest body of the ice on Earth is melting and the scientists are trying to predict the future of the entire Greenland ice sheet and so also its contribution to the sea level rise.
The latest findings reveal that Greenland ice is melting at a much faster rate than previously thought. The Greenland ice sheet is gigantic and covers an area five times the size of New York State and Kansas combined. What will be fallout of the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet covers? The ocean could rise by more than 20 feet and cause a lot of damage to coastal areas as well as islands across the oceans.
The researchers have used satellite data from 100,000 locations across Greenland for a period from 1993 to 2012. The study revealed that the ice sheet was being lost at the rate of 243 gigatons of ice every year from 2003 to 2009.
Beata Csatho, an associate professor of geology at the University at Buffalo, and the study’s lead author, said in a statement, “The great importance of our data is that for the first time, we have a comprehensive picture of how all of Greenland’s glaciers have changed over the past decade.”
Earlier study has tracked the activity of 4 major Greenland glaciers- Jakobshavn, Helheim, Kangerlussuaq and Petermann to forecast their movement across the oceans. However as the new study revealed, it did not represent truly what is happening to the glaciers across the ice sheet.
Csatho said “There are 242 outlet glaciers wider than 1.5 km on the Greenland Ice Sheet, and what we see is that their behavior is complex in space and time. The local climate and geological conditions, the local hydrology — all of these factors have an effect. The current models do not address this complexity.”
The study has been published on Monday in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.