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Greenland Ice Sheet Loses Water Enough To Submerge

Greenland massive ice sheet has lost enough ice in the past 20 years to submerge the entire United States in half a metre of water, according to data released this week by Danish researchers.The climate is warming faster in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet, and melting ice from Greenland is now the main factor in the rise in the Earth’s oceans.

Since measurements began in 2002, the Greenland ice sheet has lost about 4,700 billion tonnes of ice, said Polar Portal, a joint project involving several Danish Arctic research institutes. This represents 4,700 cubic kilometers of melted water enough to cover the entire US by half a meter and has contributed 1.2 centimeters to sea-level rise.

Polar Portal’s findings are based on satellite imagery from the US-German GRACE program (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), which showed the ice melt to be most severe near the coasts of the Arctic territory, at the edge of the ice sheet. Climate change is particularly alarming in the Arctic, which scientists say is warming three to four times the global average.

According to a study published by NASA in late January, the accelerated melting near Greenland coasts can be explained by the warming of the Arctic Ocean. The phenomenon is melting  glaciers as much as warm air is melting them from above. Melting ice from Greenland is currently the main factor in the rise in the Earth’s oceans, and the territory’s glaciers are now retreating six to seven times faster than they were 25 years ago.

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