How Much Ice Is Melting In Greenland? Rate Makes The Ice Sheet More Unstable

First Posted: Sep 23, 2016 04:02 AM EDT

Scientists discovered that the Greenland's ice sheet is melting faster than previously thought. They found that Greenland lost almost 2,700 gigatons of ice between 2003 and 2013 compared to 2,500 gigatons as they thought before.

The study was printed in the journal Science Advances. It indicates that the region is losing about 40 trillion pounds more ice a year. Daily Mail reports that scientists thought that about 550 trillion pounds of ice are losing each year between 2003 and 2013. On the other hand, the Greenland lost about 590 trillion pounds, which is about 7.6 difference, according to Michael Bevis, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University.

Prof. Bevis said that it is a fairly modest connection. He further said that it doesn't change their estimates of the total mass loss all over Greenland by that much, but it brings a more significant change to their understanding of where within the ice sheet that loss has happened, and where it is happening now.

The researchers used satellites, which are the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to map the Earth's gravity field and used the GPS network to measure the melting ice. This provides information about the distribution of mass in the world. When the ice dissolves, the region is losing mass and generates a weaker gravitational pull, according to Eco Watch. On the other hand, Bevis said that GRACE cannot measure mass rather could tell the difference between ice mass and rock mass.

The finding of the study is an important detail. Bevis said that by cultivating the spatial pattern of mass loss in the world's second largest and most unstable ice sheet, they are steadily alleviating their understanding of ice loss processes, which will lead to better-informed projections of sea level rise, as noted by Science Daily.

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