The findings from the Natural Environment Research Council-funded project were published this week (September 21) in the well-respected US journal Geophysical Research Letters.
And the results confirm climate change experts’ fears – indicating a number of glaciers in western Svalbard, ranging in size from 5-1000km², are melting and losing mass at an accelerating rate.
The Swansea team, comprising Dr Tim James, Professor Tavi Murray, Dr Adrian Luckman, and PhD student Nick Barrand of the School of Environment and Society, has been carrying out the research with colleagues from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø since 2003.
They used data from digital elevation models (DEMs) made from airborne lidar (laser scanner) data collected by the NERC Airborne Research and Survey Facility and digital photogrammetry.
Their research found the average thinning rate for the two glaciers with the best data, Midtre Lovenbreen and Slakbreen, has increased steadily since 1936 and at both, the most recent thinning rates to 2005 are more than four times the average for the first measurement period.
The team found thinning of several glaciers along the previously measured Wedel Jarls Land has also increased, doubling between the period 1990-1996 and 1996-2002.
Polar Medal recipient Professor Tavi Murray, Head of the Glaciology Group at Swansea University, said: “These dramatic rates of thinning have occurred because climate warming has resulted in both higher temperatures and less snowfall. And predictions are for even faster warming in the Arctic.
“Small glaciers like these only cover just a tiny fraction of the Earth. But many are melting rapidly, and they are one of the biggest contributors to sea level rise. These faster rates of melt imply an increased sea level contribution from the Svalbard glaciers.
“What concerns us are the environmental consequences if this acceleration of thinning continues at current rates. For animals living this far north there is really nowhere colder for them to move to.
“The team is moving on to measure changes around the edge of the larger Greenland ice sheet. Under the new Greenland Ice Margin Prediction, Stability and Evolution (GLIMPSE) project, our methods will be used to help understand the thinning of outlet glaciers there, some of which are thinning at rates of more than a metre a year.”
Bethan Evans | alfa
A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington
Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences