Greenland Bedrock Rose Faster after Anomalous Ice Loss
14.12.2011 - Ice & Snow, Arctic
The unusually warm melting season in 2010 led to a spike in ice loss from the southern part of the Greenland Ice Sheet of about 100 billion tons, according to research conducted by Michael Bevis, professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University, and colleagues. This spike in ice loss has resulted in a bedrock uplift of about 20 mm in some areas over the course of the five warmest months in 2010. Dr. Bevis presented his findings at the 2011 American Geophysical Union meeting.
The Greenland GPS Network (GNET), a broad network of 50 GPS stations dotting the coast of Greenland which measure the bedrock’s uplift as the ice covering it diminishes, took measurements documenting the uplift. While some stations often detect an uplift of 15mm or more each year, the 20 mm was anomalous. It was particularly anomalous in areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet (in the south in particular) which saw a higher number of melting days. Pulses of extra melting and uplift could imply that there may be pulses in sea level rise, according to Bevis.
GNET installed GPS stations in the exposed bedrock around the ice sheet margins along the Greenland coast between 2007 and 2009, using the Earth’s natural elasticity to “weigh” the ice. GNET and similar GPS networks worldwide will permit scientists to continue to measure ice loss after the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites are retired in 2015.