Glaciers Are Melting at Alarming Rates, Study Shows


| LAST UPDATE 12/25/2022

By Amie Alfaro
Greenland Ice Glaciers Melting
Jason Edwards via Getty Images

The glaciers in Greenland are melting way faster than scientists had originally calculated. They used a model based on Antarctica's structure but didn't take into account several factors that are causing Greenland's glaciers to melt 100 times faster. Here's what we know now.

Scientists have been using a model developed in Antarctica and applied it to the glaciers on the opposite side of the world in icy Greenland. However, a group of researchers at the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin came up with a computer model that specifically looks at the melting rate of Greenland's glaciers. The model is the first one designed for vertical glacier fronts, specifically where ice comes into the ocean at a sharp angle, differing from the models made in Antarctica. At the southern pole, the glaciers are floating atop seawater, which is different from the situation in the northern Arctic.

glaciers melting global warming
US Department of State via Wikimedia Commons
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Understanding the melting rate of Greenland's glaciers is imperative because it will help predict how high sea levels should be expected to rise and any potential current change. The fact that the glaciers are melting faster than anyone had predicted means that the climate models were way off. Schulz and her team came up with new equations, with special consideration about the steep angle at which the ice in the Arctic hits the water. Kirstin Schulz, the lead author and a research associate at the Oden Institute, wrote in a statement, "Up to now, glacier front melt models have been based on results from the Antarctic, where the system is quite different. By using our model in an ocean or climate model, we can get a much better idea of how vertical glacier fronts are melting."

This discovery will help scientists better understand what is happening with global warming and the rapid rate at which our climates are changing. To read the complete study, click here. And stay tuned for more updates.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below