For this weeks discussion I will be looking at a NASA article discussing climate change, specifically the accelerated reduction of Greenland’s glacier retreat. The article was published Jan 25, 2021, and is titled Warming Seas Are Accelerating Greenland’s Glacier Retreat. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3062/warming-seas-are-accelerating-greenlands-glacier-retreat/
Quick side note, NASA’s climate change website has some cool features like C02 ppm, sea level increase, and global temp that you can monitor in real-time. They also included a nice video animation of what it looks like when a glacier begins melting. https://youtu.be/0QVVzFPChAU
This article highlights the conservation group Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG), and their recent capabilities of measuring true glacial depth, and the data they are now capable of analyzing due to it. Greenland’s glaciers are among some of the major contributors to the rising sea levels we see today, as they are apart of one major ice sheet, which there are two of in the world. Being such a large factor it is critical that we are able to accurately mensurate physical characteristics of the glacier, in order to make much more useful models and predictions on the rate of glacial melt. The key issue for the researchers was getting an accurate depth of the glaciers to calculate the overall volume of water that was melting off the glaciers each year. In this study it was found that 1/3 of Greenland’s glaciers are contributing nearly half the annual ice melt, and it wasn’t in a way they expected. The key contributors to the melt weren’t the seemingly vulnerable glaciers in smaller more shallow fjords, but rather the larger ones in much deeper fjords, and further more the larger they are they faster they melt. This melting is caused by undercutting. Undercutting is the process where warm salt water flows under the glacier and melts it away from under. As the glacier melts larger parts also chip off or “calve”. Calving is what causes you to see images of a bunch of mini glaciers or icebergs floating where a solid glacier once was.
Overall, I think OMG is doing great work and I was surprised by how much new info I learned on glacial melt. I suppose you could say OMG is practicing a version of climate adaptation as they intend to spread this useful knowledge around the world so that all countries/regions can better mitigate the negative affects of climate change.