Navigation Links
Greenland rapidly rising as ice melt continues

VIRGINIA KEY, FL (May 18, 2010). Greenland is situated in the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast of Canada. It has stunning fjords on its rocky coast formed by moving glaciers, and a dense icecap up to 2 km thick that covers much of the island--pressing down the land beneath and lowering its elevation. Now, scientists at the University of Miami say Greenland's ice is melting so quickly that the land underneath is rising at an accelerated pace.

According to the study, some coastal areas are going up by nearly one inch per year and if current trends continue, that number could accelerate to as much as two inches per year by 2025, explains Tim Dixon, professor of geophysics at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) and principal investigator of the study.

"It's been known for several years that climate change is contributing to the melting of Greenland's ice sheet," Dixon says. "What's surprising, and a bit worrisome, is that the ice is melting so fast that we can actually see the land uplift in response," he says. "Even more surprising, the rise seems to be accelerating, implying that melting is accelerating."

Dixon and his collaborators share their findings in a new study titled "Accelerating uplift in the North Atlantic region as an indicator of ice loss," The paper is now available as an advanced online publication, by Nature Geoscience. The idea behind the study is that if Greenland is losing its ice cover, the resulting loss of weight causes the rocky surface beneath to rise. The same process is affecting the islands of Iceland and Svalbard, which also have ice caps, explains Shimon Wdowinski, research associate professor in the University of Miami RSMAS, and co-author of the study.

"During ice ages and in times of ice accumulation, the ice suppresses the land," Wdowinski says. "When the ice melts, the land rebounds upwards," he says. "Our study is consistent with a number of global warming indicators, confirming that ice melt and sea level rise are real and becoming significant."

Using specialized global positioning system (GPS) receivers stationed on the rocky shores of Greenland, the scientists looked at data from 1995 onward. The raw GPS data were analyzed for high accuracy position information, as well as the vertical velocity and acceleration of each GPS site.

The measurements are restricted to places where rock is exposed, limiting the study to coastal areas. However, previous data indicate that ice in Greenland's interior is in approximate balance: yearly losses from ice melting and flowing toward the coast are balanced by new snow accumulation, which gradually turns to ice. Most ice loss occurs at the warmer coast, by melting and iceberg calving and where the GPS data are most sensitive to changes. In western Greenland, the uplift seems to have started in the late 1990's.

Melting of Greenland's ice contributes to global sea level rise. If the acceleration of uplift and the implied acceleration of melting continue, Greenland could soon become the largest contributor to global sea level rise, explains Yan Jiang, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Miami RSMAS and co-author of the study.

"Greenland's ice melt is very important because it has a big impact on global sea level rise," Jiang says. "We hope that our work reaches the general public and that this information is considered by policy makers."

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA. The team plans to continue its studies, looking at additional GPS stations in sensitive coastal areas, where ice loss is believed to be highest.


Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
University of Miami

Related biology news :

1. A survivor in Greenland: A novel bacterial species is found trapped in 120,000-year-old ice
2. Greenland ice core reveals history of pollution in the Arctic
3. What is really happening to the Greenland icecap?
4. Searching for an interglacial on Greenland
5. As Greenland melts
6. New decontamination system kills anthrax rapidly without lingering effects
7. Birds migrate earlier, but some may be left behind as the climate warms rapidly
8. Columbia University scientist devises new way to more rapidly generate bone tissue
9. Scattered light rapidly detects tumor response to chemotherapy
10. Study finds hemlock trees dying rapidly, affecting forest carbon cycle
11. CSHL scientists use next-gen sequencing to rapidly discover genetic cause of devastating disorder
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Greenland rapidly rising as ice melt continues
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... refers to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify ... prevent fraud. Signature is considered as the secure ... for the identification of a particular individual because ... offers more accurate results especially when dynamic signature ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has ... to provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer ... SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support ... of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" ... Norman C.W. Wong to its Board of Directors ... to Zenith with a wealth of experience as co-founder of ... biology. --> --> Dr. ... Epigenetics, board of directors. Zenith,s long standing expertise in epigenetics ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), engaged in the ... the development and use of oncology drugs, today announced ... be presenting at the LD MICRO Investor Conference on ... (PST).  The conference, held at the Luxe Sunset Bel ... , will feature 200 small/micro-cap companies and is expected ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  HUYA Bioscience International, the leader ... pharmaceutical innovations, today announced it has signed a ... (KDDF) to foster collaboration between KDDF and HUYA with ... of healthcare products for the global market. ... source of new innovative preclinical and clinical stage compounds. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and MAGDEBURG, Germany , November ... NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, Austria ... European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, ... --> NovaVision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vycor Medical, ... version of its Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite at the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: