Melting Point: Rapid Retreat at Petermann Glacier
Greenland’s Petermann Glacier is rapidly retreating with increased thinning and accelerated flow. Warming ocean waters are enhancing melt rates, especially at the glacier’s grounding zone, and iceberg calving events have reduced the ice tongue significantly. These changes are raising concerns over potential contributions to global sea level rise.
Satellite image of Petermann Glacier acquired on August 16, 2002, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Satellite image of Petermann Glacier acquired on August 16, 2022, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Satellite image of Petermann Glacier acquired on May 14, 2023, using the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Other signs of action are visible along Petermann’s eastern edge, where the ice of smaller glaciers flowing into the fjord has been mashed up by the more massive Petermann. As a result, a mixture of relatively small, thin icebergs lines the east side of the main glacier.
Meanwhile, warming ocean waters are helping to melt the floating ice tongue from below. This melting might be especially significant along the grounding line—the area where the glacier loses contact with the bedrock and begins to float.
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Source: SciTech Daily