North Greenland’s ice shelves are shrinking by 35% in 45 years, study concludes

North Greenland’s ice shelves have lost 35% of their volume

Vast ice sheets from glaciers in northern Greenland have seen significant decline over the past five decades. The researchers determined that these frozen extensions had lost about one-third of their mass, with three of them undergoing complete collapse. A study published in Natural communication It used satellite imagery and climate data to reveal that ice shelves in the region have shrunk by more than 35% since 1978, primarily due to warming of the surrounding ocean. This raises alarm because Greenland has a large amount of ice, and its complete melting could raise sea levels by nearly seven feet, leading to catastrophic consequences.

According to ReportThe Greenland ice sheet contributed 17.3% of the observed sea level rise during the period 2006–2018, making it the second largest contributor after ocean thermal expansion.

Between 2000 and 2020, ocean temperature rise was closely followed by widespread increases in basal melting rates. These glaciers show a direct energetic response to ice sheet changes with retreating ground lines and increased ice discharge.

According to liberationThese results were obtained using satellite data combined with field observations, aerial photography and regional climate models.

„The observed increase in melting is consistent with a distinct rise in ocean potential temperature, indicating a strong oceanic control on ice sheet changes,” the researchers said in the study. „We are able to identify a widespread phase of weakening of the last remaining ice shelves in this field.”

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