Long-studied Greenland glacier melting

Aug. 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM
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SHEFFIELD, England, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The longest-observed glacier in Greenland is melting faster than expected from the effects of climate change, researchers say.

Researchers from Europe and the United States said the Mittivakkat Glacier experienced two consecutive record losses of ice mass in 2010 and 2011.

The losses were significantly above the 16-year average, the researchers said.

"Our fieldwork results are a key indication of the rapid changes now being seen in and around Greenland, which are evident not just on this glacier but also on many surrounding small glaciers," Edward Hanna of the University of Sheffield in Britain said.

"It's clear that this is now a very dynamic environment in terms of its response and mass wastage to ongoing climate change."

Mittivakkat Glacier has been surveyed since1931.

"An extended glacier observation program in east Greenland for the next few years is clearly needed to improve understanding of the links between climate change and response of the glaciers in this important region," Hanna said in a university release Thursday.

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