Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Greenland is disintegrating

Always more bad news from the arctic:
The Greenland ice cap is melting so quickly that it is triggering earthquakes as pieces of ice several cubic kilometres in size break off.

Scientists monitoring events this summer say the acceleration could be catastrophic in terms of sea-level rise and make predictions this February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change far too low.

The glacier at Ilulissat, which supposedly spawned the iceberg that sank the Titantic, is now flowing three times faster into the sea than it was 10 years ago.

Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said in Ilulissat yesterday: "We have seen a massive acceleration of the speed with which these glaciers are moving into the sea. The ice is moving at 2 metres an hour on a front 5km [3 miles] long and 1,500 metres deep. That means that this one glacier puts enough fresh water into the sea in one year to provide drinking water for a city the size of London for a year."
Let's remember that there's a matter of our own survival here, even if this is happening "up there" in the arctic: no serious climatologist thinks that the Greenland ice sheet can survive in the absence of the arctic ice cap -- with the arctic now predicted to be ice-free by 2030, maybe 2050, Greenland is going to start disintegrating even faster than it is now, and has the potential to raise the sea level by 20-30 feet.

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