Research Highlights | Published:


Greenland glaciers have hidden depths

Nature volume 524, page 9 (06 August 2015) | Download Citation

Greenland's glaciers may be more susceptible to global warming than was thought.

Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, and his colleagues used sonar to analyse the depths and profiles of three glaciers terminating in fjords in western Greenland. They found that the glaciers reach hundreds of metres farther down into the ocean than current maps suggest, allowing the ice to come into contact with a deep layer of warm Atlantic water. This leads to melting and the formation of deep cavities that probably boost the chances of large glacier chunks breaking off.

The authors note that these processes are not included in current ice-sheet models, and suggest that estimates of Greenland's contribution to sea-level rise will need to be increased.

Geophys. Res. Lett. (2015)

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing