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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Animating Glacial Melting

Animating Glacial Melting


Greenland icecap (credit: JPL)


What would western Greenland look like without ice? An animation produced using radar data of the ice sheet, uncovered hidden canyons that is increasing the flow of melt water into the North Atlantic ocean.

According to a report from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Irvine, the canyons under western Greenland's ocean-feeding glaciers are much deeper and longer than previously thought. If the ice covering Greenland melted, the canyons would increase the amount of water flowing into the North Atlantic and rising sea levels substantially. The lead investigator of the Greenland study at the University of California, Mathieu Morlighem, said:

"The glaciers of Greenland are likely to retreat faster and farther inland than anticipated, and for much longer, according to this very different topography we have discovered.”

An animated visualization of the radar data that exposed the canyons is worth viewing.

                      Mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, 1992-2018 (credit: JPL)

Greenland's ice sheet contains nearly 700,000 cubic miles of ice and if it were all to melt, global sea level would rise nearly 25 feet. These recent results should interest cities, regions, and people living along the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere coastal. Complete scientific analysis of the changes to the mass balance of the Greenland ice cap and its melting rates is available here.


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