Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Faster Than Expected; Larger Contributor To Sea-level Rise Than Thought

Date:
June 13, 2009
Source:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than expected, according to a new study. Study results indicate that the ice sheet may be responsible for nearly 25 percent of global sea rise in the past 13 years.

Melting water from a glacier in Greenland runs into the ocean.
Credit: Photo by Sebastian Mernild

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than expected, according to a new study led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher and published in the journal Hydrological Processes.

Study results indicate that the ice sheet may be responsible for nearly 25 percent of global sea rise in the past 13 years. The study also shows that seas now are rising by more than 3 millimeters a year--more than 50 percent faster than the average for the 20th century.

UAF researcher Sebastian H. Mernild and colleagues from the United States, United Kingdom and Denmark discovered that from 1995 to 2007, overall precipitation on the ice sheet decreased while surface ablation--the combination of evaporation, melting and calving of the ice sheet--increased. According to Mernild’s new data, since 1995 the ice sheet lost an average of 265 cubic kilometers per year, which has contributed to about 0.7 millimeters per year in global sea level rise. These figures do not include thermal expansion--the expansion of the ice volume in response to heat--so the contribution could be up to twice that.

The Greenland ice sheet has been of considerable interest to researchers over the last few years as one of the major indicators of climate change. In late 2000/early 2001 and in 2007, major glacier calving events sent up to 44 square miles of ice into the sea at a time. Researchers are studying these major events as well as the less dramatic ongoing melting of the ice sheet through runoff and surface processes.

Ice melt from a warming Arctic has two major effects on the ocean. First, increased water contributes to global sea-level rise, which in turn affects coastlines across the globe. Second, fresh water from melting ice changes the salinity of the world’s oceans, which can affect ocean ecosystems and deep water mixing.

“Increasing sea level rise will be a problem in the future for people living in coastal regions around the globe,” said Mernild. “Even a small sea level rise can be a problem for these communities. It is our hope that this research can provide people with accurate information needed to plan for protecting people and communities.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sebastian H. Mernild, Glen E. Liston, Christopher A. Hiemstra, Konrad Steffen, Edward Hanna, Jens H. Christensen. Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass-balance modelling and freshwater flux for 2007, and in a 1995-2007 perspective. Hydrological Processes, 2009; n/a DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7354

Cite This Page:

University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Faster Than Expected; Larger Contributor To Sea-level Rise Than Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612092741.htm>.
University of Alaska Fairbanks. (2009, June 13). Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Faster Than Expected; Larger Contributor To Sea-level Rise Than Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612092741.htm
University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Faster Than Expected; Larger Contributor To Sea-level Rise Than Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612092741.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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