Increased Ice Loss Resulted In Greater Greenland Bedrock Lifting

A higher-than-normal 2010 melting season sped up the melting of ice in southern Greenland, causing sizable portions of the island’s bedrock to rise somewhere about a quarter of an inch more than usual, an Ohio State University (OSU) researcher said on Friday.

According to an OSU press release, Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor in the OSU School of Earth Sciences, said that 50 GPS stations spread across the coast of Greenland normally “detect uplift of 15 mm (0.59 inches) or more, year after year. But a temperature spike in 2010 lifted the bedrock a detectably higher amount over a short five-month period — as high as 20 mm (0.79 inches) in some locations.”

Those comments came during a presentation by Bevis, who serves as the principal investigator for the Greenland GPS Network (GNET), at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco.

He also addressed what implication the findings could have in relation to climate change, saying that “pulses of extra melting and uplift imply that we´ll experience pulses of extra sea level rise“¦ The process is not really a steady process.”

In a December 9 article, UPI also said that the Bevis believes that uplift was the result of accelerated ice loss in the region, noting that the southern part of Greenland lost an extra 100 billion tons of ice due to the above average conditions.

“Really, there is no other explanation. The uplift anomaly correlates with maps of the 2010 melting day anomaly,” he told the news organization. “In locations where there were many extra days of melting in 2010, the uplift anomaly is highest.”

Bevis’ colleagues in the research were Abel K. Brown, Eric C. Kendrick, Jason E. Box, Dana John Caccamise, Hao Zhou, Jian Wang, and Terry J. Wilson, all from the OSU School of Earth Sciences, as well as John M. Wahr of the University of Colorado; Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Finn Bo Madsen, and Per Knudsen of the Danish Technical University; Michael J Willis of Cornell University; Tonie M. van Dam and Olivier Francis of the University of Luxembourg; Bjorn Johns, Thomas Nylen, and Seth White of UNAVCO, Inc, in Boulder, Colorado; Robin Abbott of CH2M HILL Polar Services; and Rene Forsberg of the Space Institute in Denmark, the university said in its press release.

GNET is a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The AGU 2011 Fall Meeting was held from December 5 through December 9 in San Francisco, California.

Image 2: The 2010 Uplift Anomaly (green arrows), superimposed on a map showing the 2010 Melting Day Anomaly (shaded in red), which was produced by R.  Simmon of the NASA Earth Observatory using data provided by M. Tedesco. Courtesy of Ohio State University.

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