The enormous Arctic glacier which is thought to be responsible for producing the iceberg which took down the Titanic has started to move from the Greenland frost sheet and into the ocean at a record rate of speed, states a research study that is printed up in the journal The Cryosphere. The Jakobshavn Glacier, as it is named, has begun to move at a speed that seems to be the fastest that has ever been recorded on planet Earth, explained scientists that come from the University of Washington and also the German Space Agency.
The study’s main author Ian Joughin, who is a scientist at the University of Washington, stated that they are in the process of seeing summer speeds that are over four times of what they use to be back in the 1990’s. This is on a glacier which at the time was thought to be one of the quickest, if not the very quickest glacier that existed in Greenland.
Joughin and his group have examined the Jakobshavn Glacier in both 2012 and 2013, gauging intense speeds. In only one year it was able to travel more than 10 miles. So this meant that it averaged a pace of 151 feet each day. This is a speed the investigators explained was the fastest ever on record for any known glacier or ice stream. However, when winter arrives, the glacier does slow down, but as the years pass, the fast flow of the summer pace of the Jakobshavn Glacier begins to take a toll. The glacier’s average yearly speed over the past few years has become markedly faster than it was when the glacier’s speeds were chronicled in earlier decades.
To be able to keep track of the glacier’s movements, the scientists examined satellite information that came from NASA and the German Space Agency. They explained that they used computers in order to compare and contrast image pairs that were obtained by the German Space Agency satellites. As the glacier moves along, they are able to keep track of any differences between the pairs in order to create maps that show ice flow velocity. With this increase in speed of Jakobshavn, it will be adding more ice into the level of the ocean and causing it to rise. It has been known that from 2000 to 2010 that the Jakobshavn Glacier alone would increase the level of the sea level around 1 mm. By adding this additional speed it will most likely end up giving even more than that over the upcoming decade.
This will probably only worsen as the Arctic region begins to warm more and more, the glaciers located there have stated to produce icebergs even further inland. This means that even though glaciers are moving out toward the coastline and transporting more ice to the sea, their fronts are actually receding. The Jakobshavn Glacier is moving at speeds never before recorded of glaciers anywhere on Earth. This is likely only going to get worse as global warming continues.
By Kimberly Ruble