PHOTOS: Up close and personal with Greenland’s massive ice sheet

Dec 4, 2018

This story is part of our series The Big Melt. It comes to us through a partnership with the podcast and radio program Threshold, with funding support from the Pulitzer Center.

Greenland’s ice sheet seems to stretch out forever. It slowly rises from the edge of the ocean to more than 10,000 feet in the center. Some of the ice is more than a hundred thousand years old and all of it originally fell here as snow. The research team shown here are trying to figure out just how this mountain of ice is moving into the sea, and how fast.

As we warm the planet, we're knocking this ice sheet out of balance — it’s losing more ice than it’s gaining. And that has big implications for rising sea levels. Six hundred million people live in coastal areas less than 32 feet above sea level. As the Greenland ice sheet melts away, an awful lot of those people are going to have to find somewhere else to live. That's a recipe for intense societal disruption — hunger, disease and conflict.

Related: As Greenland’s ice sheet melts, scientists push to learn ‘how fast’

 

Amy Martin is the executive producer of the podcast and radio program Threshold

Read more in The Big Melt series: 

An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic
As the Arctic warms up, a 'new ocean' is bringing new commerce to the top of the world
Ice is us: Alaska Natives face the demise of the Arctic ice pack
The Arctic's Sámi people push for a sustainable Norway
Arctic permafrost is starting to thaw. Here’s why we should all care.
An Alaskan village is falling into the sea. Washington is looking the other way. 
In Iceland, a shifting sculpture for a changing Arctic
Take our Arctic quiz.   

 


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