Greenland’s Bedrock Underwent Significant Uplift in 2010 Ice Melt Spike

The year 2010 saw an unusually high melting season in Greenland which subsequently impacted the amount of ice weighing down the bedrock of the island causing it to lose 100 billion tonnes of ice and uplift by as much as 20 millimetres.

Greenland Bedrock Uplift
The 2010 Uplift Anomaly (green arrows), superimposed on a map showing the 2010 Melting Day Anomaly (shaded in red).

These findings come courtesy of nearly 50 GPS stations that have been planted along the Greenland coast to measure just this sort of activity.

Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University, explained that every year the Greenland Ice Sheet melts the bedrock underneath rises.

GPS stations across the country detect various levels of uplift, and are routinely seeing uplift of 15 millimetres year after year.

However the 2010 temperature spike caused uplift of as high as 20 millimetres in zones that were very close to heavy ice loss, and 5 millimetres in zones that were located far away from the heaviest ice losses.

Bevis is the principal investigator for the Greenland GPS Network (GNET), and he’s confident that the anomalous 2010 uplift that GNET detected is due to anomalous ice loss during 2010: “Really, there is no other explanation. The uplift anomaly correlates with maps of the 2010 melting day anomaly. In locations where there were many extra days of melting in 2010, the uplift anomaly is highest.”

This uplift corresponded to a total loss of some 100 billion tonnes of ice during conditions that scientists consider ‘anomalously warm’.

Source: Ohio State University

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