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Greenland Ice Sheet: High-Elevation Balance and Peripheral Thinning

Science  21 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5478, pp. 428-430
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5478.428

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Abstract

Aircraft laser-altimeter surveys over northern Greenland in 1994 and 1999 have been coupled with previously reported data from southern Greenland to analyze the recent mass-balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Above 2000 meters elevation, the ice sheet is in balance on average but has some regions of local thickening or thinning. Thinning predominates at lower elevations, with rates exceeding 1 meter per year close to the coast. Interpolation of our results between flight lines indicates a net loss of about 51 cubic kilometers of ice per year from the entire ice sheet, sufficient to raise sea level by 0.13 millimeter per year—approximately 7% of the observed rise.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: krabill{at}osb1.wff.nasa.gov

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