Fastest-moving glacier is speeding up
Sunday, February 9, 2014, 12:52 PM -
That jumble of ice you see in the pic up above is the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland - said to be the source of the fateful berg that was Titanic's bane back in 1912, and new research says its glacial pace is looking less and less glacial.
Researchers at the European Geosciences Union say they've noticed the glacier's movement has drastically sped up, several times faster than before.
"At a point a few kilometres inland from the terminus, the mean annual speed for 2012 is nearly three times as great as that in the mid-1990s, while the peak summer speeds are more than a factor of four greater," say authors of the report, which appears in the Cryosphere journal.
Scientists have been worrying about the glacier's accelerating since the closing years of the last century. Here's how it looked late last decade, when scientists were already concerned:
While the flow does slow during the winter months, overall, the year-round average is still three times faster than the 1990s.
The thing about Jakobshavn is that it's already the fastest-flowing glacier in the world, and it presently moves almost 50 m a day.
With dropping levels of ice in the polar regions, the glacier is carrying less ice, and estimates say it could have retreated up to 50 km inland by the end of the century, but at the moment, it's depositing ice, in the form of icebergs, at a rapidly increasing rate, adding to rising sea levels.