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Saturday, September 8

Greenland glacier melt accelerating

Guardian reports today that the giant Greenland glaciers are, as feared, melting more quickly.

The predicted rise this century was 20-60cm (about 8-24ins) , but it would be at the upper end of this range at a minimum, and some believed it could be two metres. This would be catastrophic for European coastlines.

Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said in Ilulissat, Greenland yesterday:

"We have seen a massive acceleration of the speed with which these glaciers are moving into the sea. The ice is moving at 2 metres an hour on a front 5km [3 miles] long and 1,500 metres deep."
He had flown over the Ilulissat glacier and
"seen gigantic holes in it through which swirling masses of melt water were falling. I first looked at this glacier in the 1960s and there were no holes. These so-called moulins, 10 to 15 metres across, have opened up all over the place. There are hundreds of them."
This melt water was pouring through to the bottom of the glacier creating a lake 500 metres deep which was causing the glacier to float on land.
"These melt-water rivers are lubricating the glacier, like applying oil to a surface and causing it to slide into the sea. It is causing a massive acceleration which could be catastrophic."
The glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. He measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.

The changes are triggering earthquakes.

Glacier Melt in Google Earth · Google Earth file

More Flickr photos tagged with glaciers

Religious leaders from all over the world met at the mouth of the Illulissat last week to say a silent prayer for the planet, appealing to mankind to address the impact that humanity is having on life on Earth.

Christian, Shia, Sunni, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist and Jewish religious leaders took a boat to the tongue of the glacier for a silent prayer for the planet. They were invited by Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

NASA: Fastest Glacier in Greenland Doubles Speed
Greenland Ice Changes Since 1990's
: This visualization of laser altimeter measurements from the mid 1990's shows overall thinning of Greenland's ice sheet, with thickening in a few locations including the Jakobshavn Glacier, where the ice stream slowed down in the mid 1990s. More recent data show that the Jakobshavn is now, in fact, retreating, and causing accelerated thinning of adjacent ice at higher elevations in a manner that is consistent with its acceleration. Cool colors represent areas of thinning ice while warm colors show thickening. Slight inland thickening is attributed to accumulation of atmospheric moisture from melting ice at the coasts, supporting observations of a greater net loss to the overall sum of Greenland's ice cap. (6.7 MB). Credit: NASA

NB: First try with new Blogger video upload. Quick and easy but there's no way to share video and it's not indexed by Google Video. Also not allowing resizing, unlike YouTube.

Another NASA Jakobshavn Glacier animation

EU Video 'Living with climate change' about glacier retreat in the Alps, sea level rise (good bye Netherlands) and changing tourism patterns (bye bye Med, hello Baltic)

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