Alaskan glaciers melting faster than ever

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Alaska’s glaciers have been melting faster than ever, according to a team of glaciologists, who have been using airborne lasers to measure the melt in 67 glaciers over 10 years.

Between 1999 and 2001, the team re-measured 28 glaciers and found that they were melting even faster than during previous years.

The meltdown doubled during the late 1990s and has flooded the ocean with enough runoff to raise global sea levels as much as 0.27 millimeters per year, says the glaciologists’ report in the journal Science.

Alaska’s glaciers are now contributing about half of the water flowing into the oceans from shrinking mountain glaciers — and much more than from Greenland’s large ice cap.

The findings suggest that scientists may have underestimated how much sea levels will keep rising.

Experts have attributed rising sea levels to run-off from the melting of ancient ice fields, such as the Alaskan glaciers, and to ocean expansion due to global warming.

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