Climate Science

A Long Slow March

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Science  16 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5976, pp. 287
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5976.287-d

Among the most important responses to rising temperatures is accelerating rates of melting of the world's ice sheets and glaciers. Nowhere has that melting been more evident than in southern Greenland, where for the past decade or more, ice mass loss has occurred at an increasing rate. Now the mass loss so apparent in the south is spreading up the northwest coast, as would be expected. Khan et al. use two independent techniques—gravity measurements from the GRACE satellites and GPS measurements of bedrock elevations adjacent to the ice sheet—to construct a self-consistent record which shows that ice mass loss in northwest Greenland probably began to pick up speed in 2005. Detailed pictures of the evolution of ice sheets should lead to better predictions of other phenomena such as sea-level rise.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L06501 (2010).

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