Greenland's Ice Sheets Melting Faster Than Expected

It’s a well-known fact that climate change is making conditions worse and worse with each day that passes by. In fact, it’s even gotten to the point where scientists and environmentalists are calling for massive global action due to the fact that we only have a few decades left to save our planet.

However, things may actually be worse than what’s already referred to as a very grave situation. Since according to a new study, Greenland’s ice sheet is sliding way more than what’s previously thought. This can only mean one thing: that in an ever warming climate, the sheets themselves would change much quicker, affecting the ecosystem that relies on it to thrive.

"Understanding ice flow is quite important to predicting future melt from Greenland,"  said study lead author Nathan Maier, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wyoming. According to him, ice flows usually bring ice from the country’s colder regions to its edges, where it warms and eventually melts. This is a normal phenomenon and is part of the cycle. However, Maier and his team have observed that it is significantly faster than normal in the last few years.

To conduct the research, Maier and his team drilled boreholes into the ice via a sizable drill. Furthermore, the team also went ahead and installed 212 tilt sensors to measure the amount of movement the ice made from 2014 to 2016. The data then revealed that during these years, the ice sheet of Greenland slid really fast.

Previous studies have already shown that global warming has significantly changed the motion of ice along its edges. However, it wasn’t previously known that the ice has already moved at a rate this alarming.

"This is quite surprising as these regions are thought to have much slower sliding velocities than regions that are resting on slippery mud . Even more surprising is that we recorded this behavior during winter, when there is no surface melt, which can further lubricate the bed and increase the rate of sliding,” Maier said.

Following this, Maier and his team plan on doing more research to observe what kind of effects it may have on the country.

Greenland Iceberg The village of Ilulissat is seen near the icebergs that broke off from the Jakobshavn Glacier on July 24, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. Joe Raedle/Getty Images