DATE: January 18, 2016
AUTHOR: Kristian Sjøgren
SNIP: The Greenland ice sheet might not be retaining as much water as scientists previously thought.
This means more melt water flows into the ocean, where it contributes to global sea level rise.
New research from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) shows that global warming has created layers of ice within the ice sheet, which act as a barrier to prevent snowmelt from penetrating deeper into the ice sheet.
“After very hot periods, like the ones we had in 2009 and 2010, layers of ice are created within the ice cap. These layers [prevent] the lower part of the ice sheet from absorbing melting water,” says co-author Professor Jason Box from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).
“In the area that we studied, we have only three metres of snow to collect melt water instead of 40 metres. This means that more melt water ends up in the sea, which is an unpleasant surprise, and will probably mean that estimates of future sea level should be adjusted upwards,” he says.