Warming Seas Are Accelerating Greenland’s Glacier Retreat

To measure water depth and salinity, the OMG project dropped probes by plane into fjords along Greenland’s coast. Shown here is one such fjord in which a glacier is undercut by warming water. The brown water is caused by sediment being dredged up from the base of the glacier by meltwater plumes. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists with NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission are probing deep below the island’s warming coastal waters to help us better predict the rising seas of the future.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Greenland’s melting glaciers, which plunge into Arctic waters via steep-sided inlets, or fjords, are among the main contributors to global sea level rise in response to climate change. Gaining a better understanding of how warming ocean water affects these glaciers will help improve predictions of their fate. Such predictions could in turn be used by communities around the world to better prepare for flooding and mitigate coastal ecosystem damage.