Monday 03 February 2014
The Jakobshavn Glacier discharges enormous masses of ice into the sea. He is one of the fastest flowing glaciers worldwide and is considered the father of the Titanic iceberg. As new measurements prove that he could be the sea level rising faster than expected.
The Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland flows into a record pace towards the sea: The ice is moving annual average almost three times faster than in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and the German Center for Aerospace ( DLR). Thus, the ice flowed in the summer of 2012 per day more than 46 meters seaward. That was probably the largest ever recorded speed of a glacier in Greenland or Antarctica, the researchers write to Ian Joughin in the journal “The Cryosphere”. The pace could therefore increase significantly – and the sea levels faster than expected
The Jakobshavn glacier flows into a fjord on the west coast of Greenland into the sea and was considered earlier as one of the fastest flowing glacier world. From it probably also dates that iceberg, the “Titanic” collided with the on her maiden voyage in 1912.
17 km per year
To measure the flow rate, the researchers analyzed data from satellites since 2009. Thus, the ice reached a record speed of 17 kilometers per year in summer 2012. “We look at one of the probably fastest glacier, if not the fastest glacier, now in the summer speeds four times faster than in the 1990s,” says Joughin, according to a press release his university.More about
acceleration means that the glacier dismiss more and more ice into the sea. “We know that only these glaciers from 2000 to 2010 the sea level by about a millimeter raised,” says Joughin. “With the higher speed, he will probably contribute a bit more in the next decade.”
record speed, the researchers explain, especially with the nature of the rock bed in the fjord. The retreating glacier front was located in the summers of 2012 and 2013, more than a kilometer further inland than in previous years. Meanwhile, she was in a deep basin whose bottom lies about 1,300 feet below sea level.
Given the particular fjord profile, could the retreat of the glacier – compared with the 1990s – even by a factor of 10 or more speed, warn scientists. By the end of the century the glacier front could thus withdraw another 50 miles – to the fjord tip. However, the Jakobshavn Glacier is due to its special profile probably not typical of other glaciers in Greenland.