NASA study solves glacier puzzle

OMG, the water’s warm!

Estimated ice flow velocities
Courtesy NASA Sea Level Change

By Carol Rasmussen, NASA’s Earth Science News Team

Online — A new NASA study explains why the Tracy and Heilprin glaciers, which flow side by side into Inglefield Gulf in northwest Greenland, are melting at radically different rates.

Using ocean data from NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) campaign, the study documents a plume of warm water flowing up Tracy’s underwater face, and a much colder plume in front of Heilprin. Scientists have assumed plumes like these exist for glaciers all around Greenland, but this is the first time their effects have been measured.

The finding highlights the critical role of oceans in glacial ice loss and their importance for understanding future sea level rise. A paper on the research was published June 21 in the journal Oceanography.

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