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Greenland Ice Sheet and Climate Change

71.5N 31.4W

June 20th, 2013 Category: Climate Change VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Greenland – June 19th, 2013

The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1,710,000 square kilometres (660,235 sq mi), roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. It is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The ice sheet is almost 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) long in a north-south direction, and its greatest width is 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) at a latitude of 77°N, near its northern margin. The mean altitude of the ice is 2,135 metres (7,005 ft). The thickness is generally more than 2 km (1.24 mi) and over 3 km (1.86 mi) at its thickest point.

Some scientists predict that climate change may be near a “tipping point” where the entire ice sheet will melt in about 2000 years. If the entire 2,850,000 cubic kilometres (683,751 cu mi) of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 m (23.6 ft).

Ice Moving Towards the Coast of Greenland

68.0N 31.6W

October 28th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Greenland - September 30th, 2009

Greenland - September 30th, 2009

The total area of Greenland is 2,166,086 km² (836,109 sq mi), of which the Greenland Ice Sheet covers 1,755,637 km² (677,676 sq mi) (81%). The weight of this massive ice sheet has depressed the central land area to form a basin lying more than 300 m (1,000 ft) below sea level.

The ice flows generally from the center of the island to the coast, as can be seen in the image. Most of the left side of the image is covered by ice, which appears light grey. As one moves closer to the coast (right), mountain peaks become visible above the ice, and the ice can be seen flowing between the peaks, downwards towards the ocean.

Greenland’s Disko Island, in Baffin Bay

April 17th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Greenland - April 5th, 2009

Greenland - April 5th, 2009

Greenland‘s central ice sheet is blanketed by white snow; its western edges evident by the start of grooved terrain along the coastline. Further west, much of Baffin Bay is covered with cracking ice.

Disko Island, or Qeqertarsuaq, is visible in the top left quadrant. It is a large island in Baffin Bay, off the west coast of Greenland at a latitude of less than 70° North, and to the north of Disko Bay.

It has an area of 8,578 square kilometers (3,312 square miles), making it the second largest island of Greenland (the main island of Greenland itself being the largest).

The island has a length of about 160 kilometers (99 miles), an area of 8,578 square kilometers (5,330 square miles), and rises to an average height of 975 meters (1,066 yards), peaking at 1,919 meters (2,099 yards).

Glacier on West Coast of Greenland

February 1st, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Glacier melting on west coast of Greenland - November 30th, 2008

Glacier melting on west coast of Greenland - November 30th, 2008

Here we can see a large glacier off the western coast of Greenland, seemingly fed by three ice streams.

The largest glaciers are continental glaciers, enormous masses of ice that are not visibly affected by the landscape and that cover the entire surface beneath them, except possibly on the margins where they are thinnest.

Antarctica and Greenland are the only places where continental ice sheets currently exist. These regions contain vast quantities of fresh water.

The volume of ice is so large that if the Greenland ice sheet melted, it would cause sea levels to rise some six meters (20 ft) all around the world.

These ice sheets are further divided into sections based on characteristics. Ice shelves are areas of an ice sheet that are at the margin and are afloat. As a result they are thinner, have limited slopes and reduced velocities.

Ice streams, like the three visible in the image, are fast moving sections of an ice sheet.

source Wikipedia

Icy, Mountainous Terrain Near Western Coast of Greenland

December 31st, 2008 Category: Snapshots

Icy, mountainous terrain in Greenland - November 27th, 2008

Icy, mountainous terrain in Greenland - November 27th, 2008

This radar (ASAR) image allows us to see some of the mountainous, icy terrain near the coast of Greenland and Baffin Bay.

Greenland is the world’s largest island that is not a continent. About 81 percent of this huge island’s surface is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet.

The weight of the ice has depressed the central land area into a basin shape, whose base lies more than 300 metres (984 ft) below the surrounding ocean.

Elevations rise suddenly and steeply near the coast, as we can see from the steeper terrain in the image.

The ice flows generally to the coast from the center of the island, visible as a smoother grey area between the jagged black and white of the mountains.

source Wikipedia