24 May 2011:
Greenland Glaciers Lose
Enough Ice to Fill Lake Erie, Study Says
The rate of ice loss at two of Greenland’s largest glaciers has increased so much over the last decade that, if melted, the amount would be enough to fill Lake Erie
, according to a new study. Using new techniques to calculate ice loss that include greater reliance on satellite data, researchers found that the rate of ice loss from the Jakobshavn and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers far exceeded the amount needed to balance snowfall in their catchment basins. According to the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters
, Jakobshavn — which drains 15 to 20 percent of all the ice flowing from interior Greenland to the sea — had lost enough ice to equal 11 years of typical snowfall, or about 300 billion tons of ice. Meanwhile, the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier “would have to stop flowing and accumulate snowfall for seven years to regain the ice it has lost,” said Ian Howat of Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center. However, researchers found that the Helheim glacier had actually gained a small amount of mass over the same period. The greatest value of the research, Howat said, is improvements in data gathering on glaciers, including use of at least seven orbiting satellites, as well as airplanes and other sources.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.