COPENHAGEN, Denmark, March 25 (UPI) -- A Danish-led study shows ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet is now spreading up Greenland's northwest coast.
Researchers from the Denmark Technical Institute's National Space Institute in Copenhagen said the study indicates ice-loss acceleration began moving up the northwest coast of Greenland starting in late 2005. The team drew their conclusions by comparing data from NASA satellites with continuous GPS measurements made from long-term sites on bedrock at the edges of the ice sheet.
"Our results show that the ice loss, which has been well documented over southern portions of Greenland, is now spreading up along the northwest coast," said Shfaqat Abbas Khan, lead author of the study.
The team found that uplift rates near Thule Air Base on Greenland's northwest coast rose by approximately 1.5 inches from October 2005 to August 2009. The scientists said the fact the ice sheet is losing mass nearer its margins suggests Greenland outlet glacier flows are increasing in velocity.
"This is a phenomenon that was undocumented before this study," said University of Colorado-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr. "Our speculation is that some of the big glaciers in this region are sliding downhill faster and dumping more ice in the ocean."
The study that included Michael Bevis and Eric Kendrick from Ohio State University and Isabella Velicogna of the University of California-Irvine appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.