Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Warmer waters accelerating glacial melting in Greenland
Oceanographers are finding subtropical waters near Greenland that is likely accelerating glacial melting. This is the first time scientists have detected water this warm near Greenland. Greenlands ice sheets are about two miles deep and are about the size of Mexico. Accelerated melting of ice sheets this size have and will continue to greatly contribute to rising water levels. Scientists expect that the greatest contribution to Greenland's glacial melting is the change of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which cause warmer waters to be driven towards higher latitudes. This hypothesis has not yet been confirmed. Experiments have found waters as warm as 4 degrees Celsius near Greenland, and while waters are warmest from July to December, the water is warmer than usual year round. More experiments are required to understand the mechanism behind the warming of colder water and better predict the rise in sea level for the future.