Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greenland's loss of ice mass during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to last 50 years

Date:
May 29, 2012
Source:
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Summary:
Loss through melting and iceberg calving during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to the last 50 years. The Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass and thus contributes at about 0.7 millimeters per year to the currently observed sea level change of about 3 mm per year. This trend increases each year by a further 0.07 millimeters per year. The pattern and temporal nature of loss is complex. The mass loss is largest in southwest and northwest Greenland; the respective contributions of melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in snow accumulation differing considerably.

Greenand icebergs.
Credit: Copyright GFZ

Loss through melting and iceberg calving during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to the last 50 years

The Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass and thus contributes at about 0.7 millimeters per year to the currently observed sea level change of about 3 mm per year. This trend increases each year by a further 0.07 millimeters per year. The pattern and temporal nature of loss is complex. The mass loss is largest in southwest and northwest Greenland; the respective contributions of melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in snow accumulation differing considerably.

Related Articles


This result has been published by an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012. The result was made possible by a new comparison of three different types of satellite observations: measurements of the change in gravity by changes in ice mass with the satellite pair GRACE, height variation with the laser altimeter on the NASA satellite ICESat and determination of the difference between the accumulation of regional atmospheric models and the glacier discharge, as measured by satellite radar data.

For the first time and for each region, the researchers could determine with unprecedented precision which percentage melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in rainfall have on the current mass loss. "Such an increase in mass loss in the northwest after 2005 is partly due to heavy snowfall in the years before", says GFZ scientist Ingo Sasgen, head of the study. "The previous mass gain was reduced in subsequent years. Similarly in eastern Greenland: In the years 2008 and 2009 there was even a mass increase". As the researchers were able to show, this was not due to decreased glacier velocities, but because of two winters with very heavy snowfall. Meanwhile, the loss of ice mass continues here. For all studied regions the melting and calving periods between 2002 and 2011 are extraordinarily high compared to those of the last five decades.

The work was created in the framework of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIMof the Helmholtz Association and the EU project ice2sea. Due to the study, the researchers can get a little closer to understanding the current developments of the Greenland ice sheet. Ingo Sasgen: "We now know very well how calving glaciers and melting contribute to the current mass balance, and when regional trends are largely caused by rainfall variations. And we also know where our measurements must be improved." One such area is north-western Greenland, where the comparison of data indicates an abrupt increase in the calving rate, which was detected by the radar data inadequately. The REKLIM/ice2sea scientists want to find out what causes this increase and if it has a continuous or episodic character. A necessary prerequisite is a sufficiently long time series of measurements that is to be created by the continued precise gravity measurements in the context of the new satellite mission GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment – Follow On).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ingo Sasgen, Michiel van den Broeke, Jonathan L. Bamber, Eric Rignot, Louise Sandberg Sψrensen, Bert Wouters, Zdeněk Martinec, Isabella Velicogna, Sebastian B. Simonsen. Timing and origin of recent regional ice-mass loss in Greenland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2012; 333-334: 293 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.033

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. "Greenland's loss of ice mass during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to last 50 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529133644.htm>.
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. (2012, May 29). Greenland's loss of ice mass during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to last 50 years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529133644.htm
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. "Greenland's loss of ice mass during the last 10 years is unusually high compared to last 50 years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529133644.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
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