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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.

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Glacial Melting Visualized

Glacial Melting Visualized


Greenland ice cap (credit: JPL)


What would Greenland look like without ice? An animation produced by using radar data of the ice cap, showed hidden canyons that are increasing the flow of melt water into the North Atlantic ocean.

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena and the University of California at Irvine, canyons under western Greenland's glaciers are much deeper and longer than previously thought. If all the ice covering Greenland covering the canyons melted, the amount of water flowing into the North Atlantic would raise sea levels substantially. Mathieu Morlighem, the lead investigator with the ice modeling group at the University of California 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.”

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 analysis of changes to the Greenland ice cap and its melting rates is here and an animated visualization of the radar data shows the exposed canyons.

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

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented the impacts of climate change that are already underway and which are expected to increase with continuing atmospheric warming. One IPCC graph offered five scenarios for temperature increases and the impacts on past and present generations.

              How average global temperatures have changed across generations (Credit: IPCC)

It would seem that making major progress to control CO2 emissions, should be the 'take-home' messages from all these indicators. WHB

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