Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intensified Ice Sheet Movements Do Not Affect Rising Sea Levels

Date:
July 11, 2008
Source:
Utrecht University
Summary:
Meltwater is rapidly increasing the tempo of glacial movements on the rim of the Greenland ice sheet. Over the long term, however, this process is interrupted as meltwater drains away via broad channels, as a result of which ice movement decreases once again. Ultimately, this is not a cause of accelerated sea level rise.

GPS instrument on the rim of the Greenland ice sheet.
Credit: Roderik van de Wal and Wim Boot, IMAU, Utrecht University

Meltwater is rapidly increasing the tempo of glacial movements on the rim of the Greenland ice sheet. Over the long term, however, this process is interrupted as meltwater drains away via broad channels, as a result of which ice movement decreases once again. Ultimately, this is not a cause of accelerated sea level rise.

Related Articles


Scientists from around the world are closely monitoring the Greenland ice sheet, as accelerated glacial melting is believed to cause rising sea level. The theory is that increased volumes of meltwater accelerate the movement of ice to warmer low-lying areas and, consequently, even more intensified glacial melting. Utrecht University researchers, however, insist that this is not how the process actually works in the long term.

GPS measurements

Since the early 1990s, Utrecht University scientists have tracked the movement of the West Greenland ice sheet using GPS measurements. During warmer weather, the ice appears to move – over the course of a few days – as much as four times faster, because the meltwater acts as lubricant between the ice and the subsoil.

As a result, the ice sheet moves more rapidly to lower and warmer areas. It seems, however, that over time larger channels form in the ice that are able to drain off the increased volumes of meltwater.

As a result, the water pressure on the ground once again decreases, as does the tempo of the ice movement. Over the long term, therefore, the feedback mechanism between the glacial melting and ice sheet movement contributes little to rising sea levels.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Utrecht University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R.S.W. van de Wal, W. Boot, M.R. van den Broeke, C.J.P.P. Smeets, C.H. Reijmer, J.J.A. Donker, J. Oerlemans. Large and Rapid Melt-Induced Velocity Changes in the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 2008; 321 (5885): 111 DOI: 10.1126/science.1158540

Cite This Page:

Utrecht University. "Intensified Ice Sheet Movements Do Not Affect Rising Sea Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708093615.htm>.
Utrecht University. (2008, July 11). Intensified Ice Sheet Movements Do Not Affect Rising Sea Levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708093615.htm
Utrecht University. "Intensified Ice Sheet Movements Do Not Affect Rising Sea Levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708093615.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 28, 2015) Heavy rain and flooding sweep through parts of Bolivia causing damage and leaves more than 2,000 people homeless. Sophia Soo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins