Study: Increased Greenland ice melt likely

Copyright 2008 by United Press International (

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say an analysis of the Laurentide Ice Sheet -- the last Northern Hemisphere ice sheet to disappear -- suggests increased Greenland ice melt.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research said the disappearance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet is the closest example of what can be expected in Greenland during the next century.

The study shows sea level rise as a result of ice sheet melt can occur very rapidly.

"We have never seen an ice sheet retreat significantly or even disappear before, yet this may happen for the Greenland ice sheet in the coming centuries to millennia," said University of Wisconsin Assistant Professor Anders Carlson, who led the study. "What we don't know is the rate of melting of the Greenland ice sheet."

"The word 'glacial' used to imply something was very slow," said Allegra LeGrande, who led the computer modeling portion of the study. "This new evidence … indicates that 'glacial' is anything but slow. Past ice sheets responded quickly to a changing climate, hinting at the potential for a similar response in the future."

The findings appear in the online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.

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