Greenland Lurching Higher As Ice Melts

| Wed Dec. 14, 2011 4:26 PM EST

Surface-melt days in 2011 compared to 1979-2010 average: orange=fewer days; blue=fewer days; white=no difference from average, or twoo small to detect. : Image and caption courtesy NOAA’s Climate.gov Website.Surface-melt days in 2011 compared to the average number of melt days between 1979 and 2010: orange=more days; blue=fewer days; white=no difference from average, or too small to detect. Image and caption courtesy NOAA’s Climate.gov Website.Southern Greenland saw an accelerated loss of ice amounting to a staggering 100 billion tons in 2010. As the weight of all that ice lifted, large portions of the island’s bedrock also rose a quarter of an inch or more higher.

That's the finding of the Greenland GPS Network, a string of nearly 50 GPS stations on the Greenland coast designed to measure the bedrock's response to accelerating loss of ice above.

Some GPS stations around Greenland routinely detect uplift of 0.59 inches/15 mm or more during the melt portion of the year. But the extremely warm temperatures of 2010 triggered a melting spike that lifted the bedrock as much as 0.79 inches/20 mm higher than usual in places.

Up to a point, this rebound might prove a useful counterpoint to sea-level rise.

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