By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent 14 Might 2019
European satellites have detailed the abrupt change in behaviour of certainly one of Greenland’s most necessary glaciers.
Within the 2000s, Jakobshavn Isbrae was the quickest flowing ice stream on the island, travelling at 17km a yr.
Because it sped to the ocean, its entrance finish additionally retreated and thinned, dropping in top by as a lot as 20m yr.
However now it’s all change. Jakobshavn is travelling way more slowly, and its trunk has even begun to thicken and lengthen.
“It’s an entire reversal in behaviour and it wasn’t predicted,” mentioned Dr Anna Hogg from Leeds College and the UK Centre for Polar Statement and Modelling (CPOM).
“The query now’s: what’s subsequent for Jakobshavn? Is that this only a pause, or is it a switch-off of the dynamic thinning we’ve seen beforehand?”
The glacier is sited in southwest Greenland. It’s well-known for its spectacular manufacturing of icebergs – colossal blocks calve from its terminus and drift down its fjord, out into Disko Bay and onwards to the North Atlantic.
Greater than doubtless, it was Jakobshavn that spawned the iceberg that sank the Titanic.
Scientists’ curiosity within the glacier lies in its function as a drainage outlet for the Greenland Ice Sheet. It’s a key channel for the export of ice that may then elevate international sea ranges.