Published: Fri, March 29, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Big U-turn: Melting Greenland glacier is growing again

Big U-turn: Melting Greenland glacier is growing again

A large glacier in Greenland, which is one of the fastest-shrinking ice and snow masses of the world was growing again.

This 2016 photo provided by NASA shows patches of bare land at the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland.

Of course, the study authors and outside scientists warn that this is temporary.

"All this is an indicator of how sensitive glaciers are to ocean temperatures", Khazendar explained to National Geographic.

Although Box didn't participate in the study, he said Jakobshavn is "arguably the most important Greenland glacier because it discharges the most ice in the northern hemisphere".


Over the last three years, according to Oceans Melting Greenland mission's data, the cold water has kept coming as a result of the temporary cooling of the ocean temperatures in the region. "We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years", Khazendar said.

Khazendar said that the natural North Atlantic Oscillation is like jumping down a few steps or jumping up a few steps. This change was accompanied by some extra cooling in 2016 of the waters along Greenland's southwest coast, which flowed up the west coast, eventually reaching Jakobshavn. But that doesn't mean the ice sheet has stopped melting. But in the long run, the oceans are warming. "And seeing the oceans have such a huge impact on the glaciers is bad news for Greenland's ice sheet". It is the island's fastest-flowing and fastest-thinning glacier. Because of its size and importance to sea level rise, scientists from NASA and other institutions have been observing it for many years.

He said the glacier's dramatic response to variations in ocean temperature is forcing scientists to reevaluate how sensitive glaciers are to slight changes in the ocean's climate.

The warming climate has increased the risk of melting for all land ice worldwide, but many factors can speed or slow the rate of ice loss. The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience this week. This cooling system going to pass said Hazendar National Geographic.

Temporarily this can be considered good news, but on the long term, it is not because it tells scientists that a more significant player in glacier retreats and advances in the ocean temperature compared to previous thoughts, according to a study co-author and a NASA climate scientist, Josh Willis.

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