The worlds fastest glacier, Greenlands Jakobshavn Isbrae, doubled its speed between 1997 and 2003. The rapid movement of ice from land into the sea provides key evidence of newly discovered relationships between ice sheets, sea level rise and climate warming.
The findings were reported in the journal Nature on December 2, 2004. Co-authoring the study was University of New Hampshire glaciologist Mark Fahnestock of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS).
The researchers found the glaciers sudden speed-up also coincides with very rapid thinning, indicating loss of ice of up to 15 meters (16.4 yards) in thickness per year after 1997. Along with increased rates of ice flow and thinning, the floating ice that extends from the mouth of the glacier into the ocean, called the ice tongue, began retreating in 2000, breaking up almost completely by May 2003.
David Sims | EurekAlert!
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