Slowing ice flows

New satellite study of glacier motion shows stop-and-go ice movement

By Stephen Ornes, 10:39 AM May 29, 2012


These icebergs in Greenland probably broke off the floating end of a glacier. Scientists study such ice formations to learn about climate change. Credit: Ian Joughin/University of Washington



Greenland’s glaciers — giant, slow-moving rivers of ice — respond dramatically to changes in climate. As temperatures rise, glaciers melt. This adds water to the sea. But in a new study, scientists say that meltwater may not be pouring into the seas as fast as the earlier worst predictions had suggested.


Understanding glacier melt rates is important because the water released can contribute to rising ocean levels. And that sea-level rise may eventually swamp beaches and wipe out oceanfront...

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