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Greenland, Antarctic ice sheets losing volume

Last Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 13:50

Washington: A new study has observed the changes in the altitude of Greenlandic and Antarctic glaciers.

Dr. Veit Helm, glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, said that the new elevation maps were snapshots of the current state of the ice sheets and the elevations were very accurate, to just a few metres in height, and cover close to 16 million km of the area of the ice sheets. This was 500,000 square kilometres more than any previous elevation model from altimetry.
AWI glaciologist Prof. Dr. Angelika Humbert, asserted that when they compared the current data with those from the ICESat satellite from the year 2009, the volume loss in Greenland had doubled since then. The loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet had in the same time span increased by a factor of 3.

Humbert said that combined the two ice sheets were thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometers per year and that was the highest rate observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago.
The areas where the researchers detected the largest elevation changes were Jakobshavn Isbrae (Jakobshavn Glacier) in West Greenland and Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica.

First Published: Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 13:50

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