Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sea level rise forecasts helped by insights into glacier melting

Date:
November 22, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Predictions of sea level rise could become more accurate, thanks to new insight into how glacier movement is affected by melting ice in summer.

Predictions of sea level rise could become more accurate, thanks to new insight into how glacier movement is affected by melting ice in summer.

Related Articles


Studies of the Greenland ice sheet, including during a record warm summer, are helping scientists better understand how summer conditions affect its flow. This is important for predicting the future contribution made by melting glaciers to sea level rise.

Ice flows slowly from the centre of the Greenland Ice Sheet towards its margins, where it eventually melts or calves into the ocean as icebergs. Knowing how fast this movement occurs is essential for predicting the contribution of the ice sheet to sea level rise.

In summer, ice from the surface of a glacier melts and drains to the bed of the ice sheet, initially raising water pressure at the base and enabling the glacier to slide more quickly. It can, at times, move more than twice as fast in summer compared with winter, they found.

In 2012, an exceptionally warm summer caused the Greenland Ice Sheet to undergo unprecedented rates of melting. However, researchers have found that fast summer ice flow caused by significant melting is cancelled out by slower motion the following winter.

Scientists found that this is because large drainage channels, formed beneath the ice by the meltwater, helped to lower the water pressure, ultimately reducing the sliding speed.

The discovery suggests that movement in the parts of the ice sheet that terminate on land are insensitive to surface melt rates. It improves scientists' understanding of how the ice sheet behaves and curbs error in estimating its contribution to sea level rise in a warming world.

Scientists led by the University of Edinburgh gathered detailed GPS ice flow data and ice surface melt rates along a 115 km transect in west Greenland and compared ice motion from an average melt year, 2009, with the exceptionally warm year of 2012.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen, Tasmania and Newcastle, was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Peter Nienow of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: "Although the record summer melt did not intensify ice motion, warmer summers will still lead to more rapid melting of the ice sheet. Furthermore, it is important that we continue to investigate how glaciers that end in the ocean are responding to climate change."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A. J. Tedstone, P. W. Nienow, A. J. Sole, D. W. F. Mair, T. R. Cowton, I. D. Bartholomew, M. A. King. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1315843110

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Sea level rise forecasts helped by insights into glacier melting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122103859.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, November 22). Sea level rise forecasts helped by insights into glacier melting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122103859.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Sea level rise forecasts helped by insights into glacier melting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122103859.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, February 28, 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