Thursday, July 2, 2015

Alaskan Glaciers are Melting and Adding to Sea Level Rise

In Alaska unprecedented heat is melting glaciers and causing sea levels to rise. According to a new study the amount of water from melting glaciers could cover the entire state of Alaska in a foot of water every seven years. This is the finding of the authors of a study called "Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance," published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Alaskan glaciers have lost 75 billion metric tons of ice every year from 1994 through 2013. The Columbia Glacier on its own is releasing 4 billion metric tons of water into the oceans every year. Although Alaska may only have 1 percent of the Earth's glacial ice volume however the state accounted for 33 percent of global ice loss between 2005 and 2010.

Chris Larsen, a research associate professor with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and lead author of the study suggested that the trend of Alaskan ice melt will continue to drive sea level rise.

"There is a lot of momentum in the system, and Alaska will continue to be a major driver of global sea level change in upcoming decades," he said.

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