180,000 forgotten photos reveal the future of Greenland's ice

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 4, 2016.

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    To tell whether the island’s glacial cap will melt away any time soon, researchers are poring over old pictures and drawings for clues to its past behaviour.
    With Arctic temperatures rising faster than anywhere else on Earth, Greenland is now losing about 200 billion tonnes of ice per year and raising ocean levels around the globe. Projections suggest that melting from the island might swell sea levels by 30 centimetres by the end of this century. If all Greenland’s ice melted — a possibility over the next few centuries − it would push up sea level by more than 6 metres, enough to flood coastal megacities such as New York and Miami.
    But the projections carry large uncertainties, in part because researchers lack basic information about Greenland’s past. Satellite data only go back 40 years, which is why ice historians at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen are poring over 180,000 photographs and other data that record how glaciers have advanced and retreated during cold and warm spells in the recent past. Their first sets of findings suggest that Greenland ice has responded more strongly to past climate changes than was previously realized. Now, the researchers are trying to unravel what factors within the oceans, atmosphere and inside glaciers control their behaviour.

    http://www.nature.com/news/180-000-forgotten-photos-reveal-the-future-of-greenland-s-ice-1.20335
     

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