Monday, May 7, 2012

Greenland ice melt could raise seas less than feared, study says

(CNN) -- Greenland's glaciers are sliding into oceans at a faster pace than previously known, but they may contribute less to an expected rise in global sea level than feared, scientists reported Thursday.

From 2000 to 2010, researchers at the University of Washington and Ohio State University monitored the vast rivers of ice that course across the world's largest island. Their results, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Science, found that glaciers in northwestern and southeastern Greenland flowing toward the Arctic and Atlantic oceans picked up speed by about 30%, on average.

"Glaciers are continuing to accelerate, which means they are continuing to put more ice into the ocean," said University of Washington at Seattle glaciologist Twila Moon, the paper's lead author. "And as soon as that ice hits the ocean, it's contributing to sea-level rise."

But Moon said her group's data suggests that contribution will be less than existing worst-case scenarios. Read More