Greenland ice is seen as a natural parameter for getting a rough idea about the intensity of global warming as well as climate change. But a recent study has revealed that up to four times more coastal glaciers in Greenland are at risk of accelerated melting than previously thought. This data is provided by the researchers from NASA and the University of California Irvine in the US after they mapped the region’s coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet.

The scientists prepared the most comprehensive, precise and high-resolution relief maps ever made of Greenland’s coastal seafloor and bedrock. The new and upgraded maps also included data provided by NASA’s Ocean Melting Greenland (OMG) campaign. Actually, for the first time ever large sections of the Greenland coast were surveyed by the OMG campaign. According to the new maps, two to four times more oceanfront glaciers were found to extend deeper than 200 meters below sea level as compared to data shown by earlier maps.

The latest data is actually quite alarming because the top 182 meters of water around Greenland comes from the Arctic and is relatively cold. And the water below it comes from the farther south and is found to be 3-4 degrees Celsius warmer than the water above it. This results in deeper seated glaciers getting exposed to warmer water which in turn melts them more rapidly. With the help of those advanced maps, the research team refined their estimate of Greenland’s total volume of ice and its potential to increase global sea level if the ice melts completely. But this complete melting of ice is not expected to occur within the upcoming few hundred years.

According to the latest estimations, the volume of ice concentration at Greenland has increased by seven centimeters and is now 7.42 meters thick. OMG principal investigator Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said that these results suggest that Greenland’s ice is more threatened by changing climate than it was previously anticipated.

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