Calving glaciers very sensitive to temperature

Large, marine-calving glaciers have the ability not only to shrink rapidly in response to global warming, but to grow at a remarkable pace during periods of global cooling, researchers in Greenland have found.

The conclusion stems from new research on Jakobshavn Isbrae, a tongue of ice extending out to sea from Greenland’s west coast. Through an analysis of adjacent lake sediments and plant fossils, the team determined that the glacier, which retreated about 40 kilometers inland between 1850 and 2010, expanded outward at a similar pace about 200 years ago, during a time of cooler temperatures known as the Little Ice Age.

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