"Greenland" by Túrelio / CC BY-SA 2.5

Greenland’s Superfast ‘Ice Slides’ Could Be Bad News for Climate Change

Jul 15, 2019

By Yasemin Saplakoglu

Greenland’s ice sheet is sliding way more than previously thought, according to a new study.

This means that the ice sheet can change faster in a warming climate, a group of researchers reported July 10 in the journal Science Advances.

“Understanding ice flow is quite important to predicting future melt from Greenland,” said study lead author Nathan Maier, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wyoming. Ice flows bring ice from the cold interior regions of the Greenland ice sheet to its warmer edges, where the ice melts.

Ice flow happens through two different processes: the sliding of ice across the bed and deformation, which turns the ice into a kind of “flowing molasses,” Maier said. Understanding the relative scale of these two different types of movement helps scientists determine how much ice will move to high-melt areas along edges of the ice sheet.

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