2002 photo of meltwater stream flowing into a large moulin on
the Greenland ice sheet.
Credit: Roger J. Braithwaite, The University of Manchester, UK
NASA Earth Observatory
More details from the Greenland ice cap. Cores from ice planted during the previous interglacial warm spell about 120,000 years ago suggests that Greenland’s immense interior ice sheet might not be as vulnerable to climate warming as previously thought.
In other words, global warming of a few more degrees won’t necessarily wipe out the entire ice sheet and dump about 24 feet of water into the world’s oceans.
But (and there is always a ‘but’ in this climate business), changes that do occur may slush us much faster than previously thought.
“In just two-three years the speed of a large ice stream nearly doubled. This means that we have underestimated the rapid changes that may ensue from the amounts of ice leaving the ice each year,” says Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University, in an on-line story from the Swedish Research Council:
By studying 120,000-year-old layers in the ice of Greenland, researchers have determined that the ice cover seems to be able to survive a warmer climate better than was previously believed.
But at the same time they have found signs that the changes that are nevertheless happening will occur at an unexpectedly rapid rate. The level of the global seas may therefore rise faster than was previously thought.