Arctic ice cap thins in two years at 50 metres
Images taken by satellites have shown that a remote Arctic ice cap has thinned by one sixth of the thickness it had before two years and so it is now flowing 25 times faster.
The south east region called Austfonna located in the Svalbard archipelago has lost ice in an area of more than 50 kilometers inland in the past two decades. This time, the flow of ice has increased to the speeds of several kilometers per year.
The lead author of the study dr Mal McMilan and a member of the CPOM team from the University of Leeds said, “These results provide a clear example of just how quickly ice caps can evolve, and highlight the challenges associated with making projections of their future contribution to sea level rise”. The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters and this is the first study to use the measurements from the latest Earth Observation Satellite, Sentinel 1A, which was launched in April 2014.
It is hoped that the data from the Satellite will help scientists to measure and predict the exact amount of loss in ice. However, long term observations made by satellites are important to monitor the phenomena in climate and predict the changes that will happen in the coming years.
Professor Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds and the Director of CPOM said, “Glacier surges, similar to what we have observed, are a well-known phenomenon”.