This image of Tassiusaq Fjord on the west coast of Greenland shows a moraine -- a pile of boulders and other debris pushed up by a glacier which has long since retreated inland. Scientists at Ohio State University and their colleagues will use plant material found in moraines to gauge the flow and retreat of glaciers on the island. A new study using data from NASA’s Landsat 7 and Terra satellites has shown that the nearby Jakobshavn Glacier is flowing faster than before, and it is retreating rapidly from the Greenland coastline. Data for this image came from Terra’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument. Image created by Catherine Tremper, courtesy of Ohio State University.
One of the world’s fastest-moving glaciers is speeding up and retreating rapidly, a recent study has revealed.
The finding has surprised scientists, because while the margins of the Jakobshavn (pronounced "yah-cub-SAH-ven") Glacier had been slowly retreating from the southwest coast of Greenland since before 1900, this retreat appeared to have stopped by the early 1990s when the first accurate measurements were made. Now the glacier is accelerating.
The glacier, one of the major drainage outlets of Greenland’s interior ice sheet, is thinning more than four times faster than it had for most of the 20th Century. Accompanying this thinning is a substantial increase in ice speed.
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