UC Scientists Say Intensified Shrinking in Greenland a Sign of Global Warming
Intense melting may lead to oceans rising, and rain will replace snow as seasons will become periods of droughts and flooding plauged with stronger storms, the most recent scientific studies show.
Ian M. Howat, a scientist at UC Santa Cruz predicts that the Northern Atlantic island of Greenland is shrinking much faster than expected. In light of a new study of satillite images by a think tank of the worldwide earth science community, the American Geophysical Union in Washington D.C., glaciers are sliding off the inland of Greenland and melting into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.
In Greenland the study of satillite images takes focus particularly on the Helheim Glacier which is sliding into the ocean, breaking into floating pieces and melting faster than ever before.
The front of Helheim that pertrudes into the ocean has been frozen in place since the 1970s, holding the rest of the glacier inland. It began melting over a decade ago and since 2001 4.5 miles have been lost. As the front of Helheim melts away the rest of glacier slides into the sea at a faster pace. In the most recent years it has increased its slide into the ocean from 70 to 110 feet per day all while the thickness of the glacier from top to bottom has lost around 130 feet. "This is a very fast glacier, and it's likely to get faster," claims the UC scientist.
With little disagreement over the polar ice caps melting scientists still vary in their prediction of the rise in sea level we will see in this century, with some suggeesting a rise of 3 feet while others say only a few inches. This will only be intensified by the rain flooding comming soon to coastal lands as a result of global warming. As coasts see an over abundance of rain the inlands will experinace crippling drought. Further, winter snow will melt faster and water systems will fill to capacity too early to sustain the year, bringing water shortage in the face of floods. This phenomenon was orignally discovered by reseachers at UC Santa Barbra in 1999 where scientists stated "There will be too much water at the wrong time and too little when we need it.". According to a study by Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego the water supply from California's Sierra Mountains is expected to be reduced 15 to 30 percent, as the state's population continues to increase. Applying that study model to other regions, such as the Canadian Praries and the Rhine River Basin in Europe, Barnett's research team shows water shortage driven by climate change looming around the world.
"The Irony of Global Warming: More Rain, Less Water" 16 November 2005 by Robert Roy Britt LifeScience.com
"Rapidly accelerating glaciers may increase how fast the sea level rises" Press Release; University of California, Santa Cruz. 14 November 2005
"Study: Greenland Shrinking at Suprising Rate" 17, November 2005 Robert Roy Britt http://LiveScience.com
"Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the World's Ocean's" Tim P. Barnett, David W. Pierce, Reiner Schnur 13 April 2001 Science Magazine