Predicting glacial movement made easier

Scientists are able to more accurately predict sea level rise thanks to new research into how glaciers respond to climate change.

The study was conducted by a team of University of Tasmania researchers, who accumulated GPS ice flow data and ice surface melt rates in Greenland. They compared data from 2009 (an average melt year) with 2012 (a high melt year).

They discovered fast melts in 2012 were cancelled out by slower melts the following winter, as large channels carved by meltwater lowered the water pressure under the ice, slowing the glacial movement down.

However some ice melt reaches through the ice into the bed where it lubricates the glacier making it move faster into the ocean.

The research suggest increased sea ice lubrication won’t have any significant impact on sea level rise in the future.

Read more at PNAS