Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shock news: Glacier shedding ice as fast as in the 1930's when CO2 was safe

Glacial breakdown
Greenland's Helheim Glacier is shedding ice at a high rate
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Icebergs from Greenland's Helheim Glacier feed into Sermilik Fjord (shown here) each summer. Ice has been falling off the glacier at an unusually high rate in the past decade.Camilla S. Andresen
Big chunks of ice have been falling off Greenland’s Helheim Glacier at an unusually high rate over the past 10 years, a new study finds.
Warm summers and the intrusion of warmer Atlantic waters may be to blame, researchers in Denmark and the United States report online December 12 in Nature Geoscience.

To reconstruct the glacier’s history since 1890, the scientists examined sediments from the fjord below. Sand grains in the sediments revealed that only in the 1930s was the glacier falling apart as quickly as it has been recently.

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