MIAMI, May 18 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they are surprised at how rapidly the ice is melting in Greenland and how quickly the landmass is rising in response.
Greenland — the world’s largest island — is situated in the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast of Canada. It has been known for its dense ice cap, up to 1.2 miles thick, covering much of the island. But now scientists at the University of Miami say Greenland’s ice is melting so quickly the land underneath is rising at an accelerated pace.
Researchers said some coastal areas are rising by nearly 1 inch per year and, if current trends persist, that number could accelerate to as much as 2 inches per year.
“It’s been known for several years that climate change is contributing to the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet,” Professor Tim Dixon, who led the study, said. “What’s surprising, and a bit worrisome, is the ice is melting so fast that we can actually see the land uplift in response. Even more surprising, the rise seems to be accelerating, implying melting is accelerating.”
A study co-author, Associate Professor Shimon Wdowinski said the same process is also affecting the islands of Iceland and Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
Doctoral candidate Yan Jiang, another study co-author, said if Greenland’s acceleration of melting continues, the island could soon become the world’s largest contributor to global sea level rise.
The research is available in the early online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.
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