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Greenland’s Ice and Climate Change

71.0N 39.1W

June 17th, 2013 Category: Climate Change AVHRRMetOp

Greenland – June 16th, 2013

New research suggests that Greenland’s vast ice sheet isn’t as fragile as some climate scientists feared. The work indicates the majority of ice on Greenland could remain intact for hundreds of years even if the planet warms considerably. The real risks may lie in Antarctica, which may be more unstable than scientists have thought.

The study used ice cores to study conditions during a period of natural global warming that occurred between 115,000 and 130,000 years ago, when temperatures were about 14.5 Fahrenheit degrees higher than they are today. This was known as the Eemian period.

During this inter-glacial time about 75 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet remained intact. Accordingly, the study also indicates that Antarctica, which has much more ice, must have contributed significantly more to a sea levels that were 25 feet above what they are today.

Nevertheless this paper will likely muddy the already very muddy waters of the interface scientists have with the public and their perception of this issue. The concerns about recent trends on Greenland’s giant ice mass have been warranted, given signs of extensive surface melting and the possibility, explored here, that meltwater gushing to the ice sheet’s base through natural “drain pipes” called moulins could accelerate the flow of ice to the sea (click here for more information).

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