From Live Science. See: http://www.livescience.com/15654-greenland-glacier-record-melt.html
Greenland Glacier Shows Record Losses in 2010 and 2011
Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 19 August 2011 Time: 10:46 AM ET
Greenland’s glaciers keep shrinking as higher surface temperatures have created record mass losses in 2010 and 2011, researchers announced this week.
“Our fieldwork results are a key indication of therapid changes now being seen in and around Greenland, which are evident not just on this glacier but also on many surrounding small glaciers,” study researcher Edward Hanna said in a statement. “It’s clear that this is now a very dynamic environment in terms of its response and mass wastage to ongoing climate change.”
A glacier’s mass balance is the difference between the snow and ice it accumulates and how much of it melts and sublimates (when a solid turns directly into a gas). It is the most sensitive way of measuring climate’s effects on a glacier, the researchers said.
Mass loss is measured using a stake stuck into the glacier. The length of stake exposed is measured at the end of the melt (ablation) season, which is around August. It is measured in meters of water equivalent, the depth of the resulting melt water.
Greenland’s longest-observed glacier, Mittivakkat, showed two consecutive record losses in mass during recent melt seasons. In 2010 around 7 feet of water were lost (2.16 meters, 2 percent of the total glacier volume) and in 2011 about 8 feet (2.45 m) melted away.
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