In Greenland, glaciers are melting 100 times faster than expected

The researchers confirmed that glaciers in Greenland are melting 100 times faster than originally calculated. They are now using a new model that takes into account the interaction between ice and water to calculate the rate of melting.

Scientists’ results about the state of Greenland’s glaciers are far from positive. Take effect, Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than expected. The old model used to measure glacier melting was based on the melting rate of flowing Antarctic glaciers. It therefore does not accurately reflect the situation for the ice front in Greenland, which has a gigantic 31 km wide impact crater of the Hiawatha Glacier.

Greenland © Dominique Müller / Pexels

To calculate the speed of melting ice in the Greenland fjords, researchers use a new mathematical model. Compared to the old model based on Antarctica, the new model takes into account the interaction between ice and seawater in the fjords. The melting of the ice 100 times faster than expected is therefore not specifically caused by climate change, but rather by the use of a mathematical model that was outdated.

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Greenland’s vertical ice fronts are melting faster than ice in Antarctica

Kirstin Schulz, lead author of the melting ice study explained that: for years people have taken the melt rate model of flowing Antarctic glaciers and applied it to Greenland’s vertical ice fronts. But there is increasing evidence that the traditional approach produces too low melting rates on the vertical fronts of Greenland’s glaciers. “.

In fact, the biggest difference between Antarctica and Greenland is that Greenland has vertical ice fronts. In Antarctica, glacier tongues float above the water. Warmer seawater therefore acts differently on vertical glacier fronts. This is why we now realize that glaciers are melting 100 times faster than expected in Greenland. In fact, scientists have discovered microplastics in Antarctic snow for the first time.

For scientists, it is important to know the melting rate of Greenland’s glaciers. And with good reason, you should know that Greenland holds enough ice to raise sea levels by 6 meters if the ice were to melt completely. As Kirstin Schulz, “ the results of ocean climate models are very relevant to humanity in predicting trends associated with climate change “.


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