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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Satellites help explain Greenland ice loss mystery -- Ted Scambos

New Scientist, August 9, 2008

A NEW approach to measuring glacier behaviour can keep track of the rapidly changing erosion of ice in south-east Greenland.

Earlier studies focused on two large, rapidly thinning glaciers, but these actually contribute relatively little to total ice loss. Satellite measurements of the island's gravitational field imply a much greater loss than the large glaciers alone can account for.

Now a team led by Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado in Boulder has resolved the disparity by looking at a wider range of glaciers. They used laser altimetry to measure the thinning of inland ice, plus satellite images that show changes at the margins of the ice sheet. Overall, they found that the region is losing more than 100 cubic kilometres of ice a year.

From issue 2668 of New Scientist magazine, 09 August 2008, page 16.

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