By Laura Geggel
Greenland’s fastest-flowing and fastest-thinning glacier recently threw a real brain bender at scientists, who realized that instead of shrinking, the glacier is actually growing thicker, they reported in a new study.
The glacier — known as Jakobshavn, which sits on Greenland’s west coast — is still contributing to sea level rise, but it’s losing less ice than expected. Instead of thinning and retreating inland, its ice is thickening and advancing toward the ocean, the researchers found.
The big question: Why is this happening?
After much sleuthing, a team of scientists from the United States and the Netherlands found that the glacier is likely growing due to colder ocean currents. In 2016, a current that passes by Jakobshavn Glacier was cooler than usual, making waters near the glacier the coldest they’d been since the mid-1980s.
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