Thursday, February 16, 2006

Glacial pace picks up

Greenland's ice is breaking up at an increasing rate.

Greenland's glaciers, which have since the last ice age slipped into the ocean at a sedate, glacial speed, are beginning to pick up the pace.

Research shows that the ice is melting at an accelerating rate, lubricating the whole works and causing some glaciers to shoot out to sea at up to 14 kilometres a year.

The ice sheet is now losing 220 cubic kilometres per year from this calving and melting, say Eric Rignot, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, who report their findings in this week's Science1. That's twice as much as just a decade ago.

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