Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Is the ice in Greenland in growing decline?
by Staff Writers
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Jul 17, 2013

Midnight sun in the Discobay area, West Greenland. The bay, illuminated by low-standing sun during this early-summer night, is crowded by icebergs diverse in shape and size, fed by Greenland's largest and fast-flowing glacier, Jakobshavn Isbrae. Image courtesy I.Sasgen, GFZ.

The time period of satellite observations of the ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic is still too short to be able to say whether the accelerated loss of ice measured today will persist in the future. This is the result published today in the online edition of "Nature Geosciences" by a research team led by Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol.

The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is also involved in the study. The researchers conclude that predictions of the contribution of both ice shields to the sea level up to the year 2100 may be more than 35 cm too high or too low.

The researchers analyzed nine years' worth of data from the gravity field satellite GRACE. The GRACE measurements showed that both ice sheets are losing significant amounts of ice - about 300 billion tons per year.

At the same time, the rate at with which these losses occur is increasing: The contribution of both ice shields to sea level rise in recent years has almost doubled when compared to the first years of the GRACE mission.

The causes of this accelerated reduction in ice mass are still a challenge for scientists: In addition to anthropogenic warming, the ice sheets are influenced by a variety of natural processes, such as variations in snowfall and slow changes in ocean currents.

In climatological terms, nine years are a very short period of observation. "It would be more prudent to speak of weather rather than climate," says Bert Wouters.

"This 'ice sheet weather' can cloak long-term acceleration, or suggest an increase in the depletion of ice mass that could actually be compensated over a longer period", adds co-author Ingo Sasgen from GFZ.

"The results highlight the need for a continuous monitoring of the ice sheets with satellites." In particular, deriving long-term trends of processes that interact with the climate from short observation data sets only have limited meaning. In order to improve the identification and prediction of the contribution of melting ice sheets to future sea level rise, the observation will be continued with the GRACE-Follow On mission from 2017 onwards.

B. Wouters, J.L. Bamber, M.R. van den Broeke, J.T.M. Lenaerts and I. Sasgen, "Limits in detecting acceleration of ice sheet mass loss due to climate variability", Advance Online Publication, Nature Geoscience 10.1038/ngeo1874, 14. 07. 2013


Related Links
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Beyond the Ice Age

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Scientists cast doubt on theory of what triggered Antarctic glaciation
Austin TX (SPX) Jul 12, 2013
A team of U.S. and U.K. scientists has found geologic evidence that casts doubt on one of the conventional explanations for how Antarctica's ice sheet began forming. Ian Dalziel, research professor at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics and professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, and his colleagues report the findings in an online edition of the journal Geology. ... read more

NASA Technology May Breathe Life, Safety Into Mines

Man who battled Fukushima disaster dies of cancer

Fukushima radioactive groundwater readings rocket

REACTing to a crisis

Earth's gold may have been born in cataclysmic cosmic collisions

Taking the "Random" out of a Random Laser

Resonator Gyro Achieves 25 Million Operating Hours in Space

Cool it, quick: Rapid cooling leads to stronger alloys

A new alien-like species discovered off California

Each degree of global warming might ultimately raise global sea levels by more than 2 meters

Thirsty Jordan inaugurates huge water project

Scientists outline long-term sea-level rise in response to warming of planet

Australia, N.Z. vow to press on with Antarctic plans

Is the ice in Greenland in growing decline?

As ice cover disappears, life in the frigid Antarctic moves fast

Antarctic Glacier Calves Iceberg One-Fourth Size of Rhode Island

New study addresses trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation

Chew More to Retain More Energy

Whole chickens from farmers markets may have more pathogenic bacteria

In US, struggle against snakehead ends on plates

Scientists say earthquake could wake Mount Fuji from 300-year slumber

Ecuador volcano registers 'strong explosion'

Typhoon kills three, forces evacuation of 500,000 in China

7.3-magnitude quake off Antarctica, no injuries

Madagascar villagers accuse army of mass killings

Guinea jails two for life for attack on president

Kigali says two mortar bombs fired into Rwanda from DRC

Tanzanian charged for smuggling over 1,000 elephant tusks

Genetic evolution seen in peoples living at high altitudes

China island centenarians claim secret of long life

Did Neandertals have language?

How well can you see with your ears? Device offers new alternative to blind people

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement