Changing Greenland Ice Sheet

The Greenland Ice Sheet

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the world’s second ice sheet. It lies in the Northern Hemisphere. It is quite different to Antarctica in character. It has enough ice to raise global sea levels by about 7.4 m on full melting (Morlighein et al., 2018). Like Antarctica, its ocean-terminating outlet glaciers are vulnerable to ocean heating. Unlike Antarctica, it is not fringed by ice shelves, but does have some large ice tongues in front of some glaciers. It also has a large land-termating margin.

The map shows the Greenland Ice Sheet. You can see the land-terminating margin around the edges.

The Greenland Ice Sheet itself is losing mass at an accelerating rate, making it the single largest contributor to rising sea levels from land ice. Faster flow of outlet glaciers has contributed to this loss. The Greenland Ice Sheet is surrounded by peripheral glaciers, and these are some of the fastest-receding glaciers on the planet. Together, these factors make the Greenland Ice Sheet a very important place.

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