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In Greenland, Ice and Instability

March 24th, 2008 |

Thanks to Ed Levering for this NY Times article.
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The ancient frozen dome cloaking Greenland is so vast that pilots have crashed into what they thought was a cloud bank spanning the horizon. Flying over it, you can scarcely imagine that this ice could erode fast enough to dangerously raise sea levels any time soon.

Along the flanks in spring and summer, however, the picture is very different. For a lengthening string of warm years, a lacework of blue lakes and rivulets of meltwater have been spreading ever higher on the ice cap. The melting surface darkens, absorbing up to four times as much energy from the sun as unmelted snow, which reflects sunlight. Natural drainpipes called moulins carry water from the surface into the depths, in some places reaching bedrock. The process slightly, but measurably, lubricates and accelerates the grinding passage of ice toward the sea.

For full article, visit:

http://www.nytimes.com

 

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