Photo Gallery Greenland's Vanishing Ice Sheet

A chilly colossus shrivels. Greenland's sheet of ice is disappearing faster than ever, according to recent calculations made by researchers who used two different methods. Conclusion: The rate at which sea level rises is accelerating.
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The dimensions of this frosty giant go way beyond human imagination. The Greenland ice sheet has a surface area of some 1.7 million square kilometers and is up to three kilometers thick in places.

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Foto: Steve Morgan
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An iceberg on Greenland's coast. If Greenland were to lose all of its ice, the global sea level would be about 7 meters higher than it is today.

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Foto: Jonathan Bamber
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At the margin of the ice sheet in West Greenland: There are two parallel processes responsible for the diminishing of Greenland's ice. One reason is the rise in air temperatures, and the other is that warm ocean currents are eating away at glaciers that stretch into the ocean.

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Foto: IMAU/ Utrecht University
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Icebergs in the sea off Greenland. According to scientific reports, Greenland lost 1,500 gigatons of ice between the years 2000 and 2008. A gigaton is equal to 1 billion tons.

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Foto: Jonathan Bamber
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Automatic weather stations in the margin of the western Greenland ice sheet. Between 2000 and 2008, the dwindling glaciers have been responsible for the sea level rising by an average of about half a millimeter per year.

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Foto: IMAU/ Utrecht University
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The margin of the ice sheet in western Greenland: "All the signals point to a persistent loss in ice -- at a speed that would have seemed impossible to us 10 years ago. I would say that this is most certainly something the politicians need to grapple with," says Michiel van den Broeke, author of a new study on the melting of Greenland's ice.

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Foto: IMAU/ Utrecht University
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Automatic weather stations on the margin of the western Greenland ice sheet: Estimates vary greatly as to how fast the ice is melting.

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Foto: IMAU/ Utrecht University
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Icebergs in the sea off Greenland:"We will use our model to calculate Greenland's future loss in weight. But you need to give us a bit more time to complete our results," van den Broeke said. To this end, the European Union has in the past year begun a major research project called "Ice2Sea".

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Foto: Jonathan Bamber
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Margin of the ice sheet in western Greenland: "The scientific community is coming to a consensus over how great the loss of weight of Greenland's ice sheets actually is," said Denmark's chief glaciologist Andrea Peter Ahlstrøm.

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Foto: IMAU/ Utrecht University
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