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Ice melt shows alarming land rise in Greenland


Washington : Greenland’s ice is melting so quickly that the land underneath is rising at a rapid pace, according to latest research.

Greenland is situated in the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast of Canada. It has a dense icecap up to two kilometers thick that covers much of the island.

Some coastal areas are going up by nearly one inch per year, says a University of Miami study.

If current trends continue, that number could accelerate to as much as two inches a year by 2025, says Tim Dixon, principal study investigator and professor of geophysics at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS).

“It’s been known for several years that climate change is contributing to the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet,” Dixon says.

“What’s surprising, and a bit worrisome, is that the ice is melting so fast that we can actually see the land uplift in response,” he says.

“Even more surprising, the rise seems to be accelerating, implying that melting is accelerating.”

The idea behind the study is that if Greenland is losing its ice cover, the resulting loss of weight causes the rocky surface beneath to rise.

The same process is affecting the islands of Iceland and Svalbard, which also have ice caps, explains Shimon Wdowinski, associate professor working in RSMAS and the study co-author.

“During ice ages and in times of ice accumulation, the ice suppresses the land,” Wdowinski says. “When the ice melts, the land rebounds upwards.

“Our study is consistent with a number of global warming indicators, confirming that ice melt and sea level rise are real and becoming significant.

“Greenland’s ice melt is very important because it has a big impact on global sea level rise,” says study co-author Yan Jiang.

These findings were published in Nature Geoscience.