Kangerlussuaq Glacier on the Greenland ice sheet • Earth.com

Kangerlussuaq Glacier on the Greenland ice sheet


Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency  features the Kangerlussuaq Glacier, one of the largest tidewater outlet glaciers in Greenland. The glacier is located on the east coast of the Greenland ice sheet.

As human-induced climate change continues to drive up temperatures, global ice loss is accelerating at an alarming rate. ESA reports that, over the past decade alone, 3.5 trillion tons of ice have melted from the Greenland ice sheet. This is enough to cover the UK with meltwater 15 meters deep.

Based on satellite imagery, researchers determined that Kangerlussuaq entered a new phase of rapid retreat and acceleration in 2017. In their study, published in Frontiers in Earth Science,  the experts report that the glacier’s ice front is now at its most retreated position since the early 20th century.

“Given Kangerlussuaq’s previous impacts on both the magnitude and pattern of ice sheet wide mass loss, we predict that its new phase of retreat, acceleration and thinning will markedly enhance the south-east region’s contribution to increasing discharge from the ice sheet,” wrote the study authors.  

“More broadly, accurate forecasting of the ice sheet’s contribution to sea level rise will require a deeper understanding of, and responses to, these non-linear ice dynamic processes.”

Video Credit: ESA

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Editor

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