Observations of Jakobshavn Glacier from 2012 and 2013 show the fast-moving glacier has set new records for the speed of ice flowing toward the ocean.
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Changes in the speed that ice travels in more than 200 outlet glaciers indicates that Greenland’s contribution to rising sea level in the 21st century might be significantly less than the upper limits some scientists thought possible, a new study shows.
In a pair of companion papers in Science Express this week, scientists investigate the role of surface meltwater on accelerating the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet and outlet glaciers and conclude that, while surface melt plays a substantial role in ice sheet dynamics, it may not produce large instabilities.
Two of Greenland’s largest glaciers shrank dramatically and dumped twice as much ice into the sea during a period of less than a year between 2004 and 2005.
With warming temperatures as the possible underlying cause, scientists wonder what is pushing Greenland’s glaciers out to sea as much as 50 percent quicker than before.