27 septiembre 2008

Watch as Greenland melts

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Sermitsiaq has installed a webcam at the Ilulissat Glacier to show how fast ice is melting due to global warming

Greenland's ice cap is melting at an alarming pace. In order to help open the world's eyes to the magnitude of the changes, Sermitsiaq has set up a webcam that will keep track of the movements of the Ilulissat Glacier.

Each day, enormous boulders of ice break off Ilulissat Glacier and fall into the Ice Fjord. One of the most active glaciers in the world, Ilulissat Glacier moves at a speed of 22 metres per day, and the largest of the constant rain of ice boulders that break off can be up to 1000 metres tall and several hundred metres wide.

Some of the ice gets caught up on an underwater bank at the mouth of the fjord and is broken up into small icebergs. Others are ripped loose by the current and are carried northwest out to the Davis Strait.

Greenland's inland ice cap covers an area of 1.7 million square kilometres - about 80 percent of the country's total area. The ice cap covers 2.8 million cubic kilometres of ice. If all of it melted at once, the world's oceans would rise by more than seven metres.

In some areas, the ice cap is over two km thick, and, at its deepest, it rises three kilometres over Greenland's bedrock. The age of the ice is estimated at about 110,000 years. According to measurements by Nasa's Grace satellite 239 cubic km of the ice cap melt each year.

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