GRACE Acquires Accurate Picture of Greenland Ice Loss

10133_web Over the past few years we have sadly had to watch the Arctic ice concentrations drop significantly. Focus has been primarily centered on the Arctic Circle, but Greenland is also suffering from the increased global temperature.

And now, thanks to researchers from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the Center for Space Research (CSR) in America, a new and accurate picture of Greenland’s shrinking ice cap has been formulated.

Subsequently, the researchers have found that Greenland is currently responsible for an annual increase of sea levels of up to half a millimeter.

Based upon research from the German-American Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, researchers from TU Delft and CSR created a method that would create a better image of what is happening to the Greenland ice sheet.

Between the period of 2003 and 2008, Greenland lost an average of 195 cubic kilometers of ice per year, which equates to an annual increase in the global sea level of half a millimeter (or 5 centimeters over the next century).

This would seem to immediately object to the findings of a report recently published by the Dutch Delta commission, which estimated that the melting Greenland ice cap would cause the sea level to rise by 13 to 22 centimeters by 2100. But these two figures would only contradict each other if the current Greenland melt stayed as it was for the next 90 years.

Sadly, this is not overly likely. During the brief study period an increase in melt was already evident. The first two years of the study showed that Greenland lost 131 cubic kilometers of ice per year. However that figure had risen to 222 cubic kilometers per year in the last two years of the study. If that increase was to continue, it would easily reach the Dutch Delta commissions report. At the moment though, there is no evidence to suggest that such an increase will happen.

Image Credit: GRACE

Source: TU Delft

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