Washington: Glacier-covered Greenland has had an average net loss of 200 million tons of ice every year since 2003, scientists who are studying the changing mass of the island using satellite data have confirmed.
The latest analysis backs up the previously reported trend without even including the last two summers of record-breaking ice melts.
“Greenland is really the place where everyone agrees that (the ice melt) is definitely accelerating with time and there is a big contribution to sea level rise,” Discovery News quoted researcher Isabella Velicogna from the University of California at Irvine (UCI) as saying.
Velicogna is an expert at analyzing the same kind of data used in this most recent study: from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) which can detect mass changes on the surface of the Earth over time.
GRACE does this by detecting subtle increases and decreases in gravity, which is directly related to the mass below the two orbiting GRACE satellites.
In the latest work, Princeton University researcher Chris Harig and Frederik Simons applied a new method to analyzing the GRACE data.
They found that during 2003 and 2004, mass loss was centered along the eastern coast of Greenland. From 2005 to 2006 mass loss dropped in the northeast but rose in the southeast. Meanwhile, more mass was lost along the northwest coast, especially from 2007-2010.
“The study confirms what we already knew,” Eric Rignot, an Earth Systems Science Professor at UCI and scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, said.
“The authors use a new decomposition, but the sources of error and corrections are essentially the same as for other studies,” Rignot added.
The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.