Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Kjer Glacier in northwest Greenland, where dramatic changes have taken place in recent years as a result of global warming.
A series of glaciers, including Kjer and Hayes, move ice from the island’s interior toward the coast and onto the ocean. However, most of these glaciers are retreating.
In 2012, the Kjer Glacier lost its floating ice shelf, which helped to slow the flow of the glacier into the ocean. According to NASA snow and ice scientist Alex Gardner, data show that one year before the ice shelf’s breakup, the glacier flowed at an average speed of 1,200 meters per year. By 2018, the glacier’s average speed was more than 4,000 meters per year.
“Kjer is experiencing a nearly four-fold increase in ice flow due to the collapse of its floating ice shelf, likely due to melting by warmer ocean waters,” said Gardner. “This has led to increased contributions of ice to the ocean and is accelerating sea level rise.”
The image was captured on September 21, 2021 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory