Ole Zeising starting pRES (radar) measurement on 79 North Glacier. Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Nik

Ground-based measuring devices and aircraft radar operated in the far northeast of Greenland show how much ice the 79° N-Glacier is losing. According to measurements conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute, the thickness of the glacier has decreased by more than 160 meters since 1998. Warm ocean water flowing under the glacier tongue is melting the ice from below.

High air temperatures cause lakes to form on the surface, whose water flows through huge channels in the ice into the ocean. One channel reached a height of 500 meters, while the ice above was only 190 meters thick, as a research team has now reported in The Cryosphere.

A rustic camp in northeast Greenland was one of the bases for deploying autonomous measuring devices with modern radar technology by helicopter in a part of the 79° N-Glacier that is difficult to access. Measurement flights with the polar aircraft of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and satellite data were also incorporated into a scientific study that has now been published.

This study examines how global warming […]

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