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The Elevation of Greenland Is Increasing

Greenland is experiencing a unique phenomenon known as glacial isostatic rebound, where the country’s landmass is gradually rising as the ice sheets melt. This process can be compared to a “decompressing mattress,” according to a report by Live Science. As the weight of the ice sheet decreases over time, the land’s bedrock begins to expand upward. A recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that up to one third of the land’s uplift in certain areas is due to the retreat of glaciers.

Lead author Danjal Longfors Berg and his team used data from 58 GPS monitors embedded into Greenland’s bedrock in 2007 to measure the land’s vertical motion. They found that some of the land’s rise was due to natural rebound, but in two separate drainage basins in the north and east, 32% and 27.9% of the rebound was caused by ice loss. The fastest rising bedrock, at a rate of 0.3 inches per year, was observed in southeast Greenland at the Kangerlussuaq Glacier, which has receded 6.2 miles since 1900.

Berg explains that by estimating the amount of mass Greenland is losing, researchers can provide a more accurate estimate of how much the sea level is rising. The New York Times reports that Greenland’s glaciers are melting at a faster rate than previously thought. A study published in Nature suggests that 20% more ice has melted along the edges of the country’s glaciers than previously estimated. Glaciologist Chad Greene states that almost every glacier in Greenland is retreating, regardless of the location. This widespread retreat is happening simultaneously across the country.

These findings highlight the significant impact of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet and the resulting consequences for rising sea levels. Understanding the dynamics of glacial isostatic rebound and the rate of ice loss is crucial for predicting and mitigating the effects of global warming.

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