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Recent Greenland Ice Mass Loss by Drainage System from Satellite Gravity Observations

Science  24 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5803, pp. 1286-1289
DOI: 10.1126/science.1130776

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Abstract

Mass changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet resolved by drainage system regions were derived from a local mass concentration analysis of NASA–Deutsches Zentrum für Luftund Raumfahrt Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE mission) observations. From 2003 to 2005, the ice sheet lost 101 ± 16 gigaton/year, with a gain of 54 gigaton/year above 2000 meters and a loss of 155 gigaton/year at lower elevations. The lower elevations show a large seasonal cycle, with mass losses during summer melting followed by gains from fall through spring. The overall rate of loss reflects a considerable change in trend (–113 ± 17 gigaton/year) from a near balance during the 1990s but is smaller than some other recent estimates.

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