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Posts tagged Greenland

Arctic Ice by Canada and Greenland

80.8N 71.4W

June 24th, 2013 Category: Climate Change MODISTerra

Canada and Greenland – June 22nd, 2013

This image shows glacial ice and sea ice in the Arctic, between Canada and Greenland. Effects of Arctic climate change include a marked decrease in Arctic sea ice; thawing permafrost, leading to the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas; the release of methane from clathrates, leading to longer time-scale methane release; the observed increase in melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent years; and potential changes in patterns of ocean circulation.

Scientists worry that some of these effects may cause positive feedbacks which could accelerate the rate of global warming. The sea ice in the Arctic region is in itself important in maintaining global climate due to its albedo (reflectivity). Melting of this sea ice will therefore exacerbate global warming due to positive feedback effects, where warming creates more warming by increased solar absorption.

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).

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).

Fjords of Western Greenland, Sediments, Phytoplankton and Climate Change

63.8N 52W

February 16th, 2013 Category: Glaciers and Ice Caps, Phytoplankton

Greenland – January 26th, 2013

Greenlandic fjords are located at the junction between the ocean and the Greenland Ice Sheet and therefore sensitive to future climate change. However, little is known about the fjord-glacier link, and fjords are in
general understudied. Furthermore, biological studies and basic ecological understanding remain very incomplete.

However, recent research describes differences in plankton community structure in the offshore West Greenland system towards a glacial outlet fjord, and the results suggest differences in offshore and fjord systems. Results suggest that the high suspended sediment concentrations in the fjord cannot explain the spatial distribution of plankton communities, pointing instead the importance of oceanfjord-glacier interaction. In this image, the lighter blue areas along the coast indicate the presence of sediments and/or phytoplankton (click here for more information).

Cloud Vortex Southeast of Greenland

59.4N 40W

February 11th, 2013 Category: Clouds

Greenland – January 26th, 2013

A large area of convection forming a spiral cloud vortex (bottom right quadrant) can be seen southeast of the southern tip of Greenland (upper left quadrant). It is a visible example of a convection current, the transfer of heat energy by the movement or flow of a substance from one position to another.