Rapid Thinning of Parts of the Southern Greenland Ice Sheet

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Science  05 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5407, pp. 1522-1524
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5407.1522

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Aircraft laser-altimeter surveys over southern Greenland in 1993 and 1998 show three areas of thickening by more than 10 centimeters per year in the southern part of the region and large areas of thinning, particularly in the east. Above 2000 meters elevation the ice sheet is in balance but thinning predominates at lower elevations, with rates exceeding 1 meter per year on east coast outlet glaciers. These high thinning rates occur at different latitudes and at elevations up to 1500 meters, which suggests that they are caused by increased rates of creep thinning rather than by excessive melting. Taken as a whole, the surveyed region is in negative balance.

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