Greenland's most critical glacier is suddenly gaining ice, but that might not be a good thing
By Brandon Miller, CNN
Updated 12:21 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2019

(CNN) Greenland's largest and most critical glacier, Jakobshavn, is gaining ice, according to NASA researchers.

Although this finding is surprising and temporarily good news for the glacier, limiting its contribution to sea level rise, the reason for the ice accumulation might spell disaster in the long run.

For two decades, Jakobshavn sustained remarkably consistent thinning that scientists thought would continue, if not accelerate, due to large-scale warming of the polar atmosphere and oceans -- but that rate dramatically slowed in 2014, and the glacier actually thickened between 2016 and 2017 and again between 2017 and 2018, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature.

"At first we didn't believe it," said Ala Khazendar, the lead NASA scientist on the study. "We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years."

Jakobshavn Isbrae, the full name of the glacier along Western Greenland's coast, has been Greenland's fastest-flowing and largest ice-losing glacier over the past 20 years, making it by far the single largest contributor to sea level rise on the large, mostly frozen island.

In fact, according to Khazendar, the melting from that single glacier alone contributed to global oceans rising an average of 1 millimeter between 2000 and 2010.

And even though Jakobshavn has gained ice at lowest levels where it enters the sea, it has still been contributing to sea level rise because the rate it is melting into the ocean is still greater than the rate that ice is accumulating higher up on the glacier, according to the researchers.

The glacier controls a basin with enough ice, that if melted fully, would raise global oceans by about 2 feet.


  • Global warming is real. Look at it its causing glaciers to grow in and gain more ice. Wait what? Wasn't global warming supposed to melt those damn ice?

    According to CNN its a bad news for those glaciers to gain more ice. Wait what? I thought the goal was to make sure they don't melt. CNN wants it both ways, its bad for the GLACIERS to MELT and its also BAD for the GLACIERS to GAIN ICE AND GROW.

    I call it the global warming syndrome. Damn it the ice melts and damn it if those ice grow. Like damn it if Mueller investigate Trump and damn him if he finds nothing.

  • Rastaman, I think the glaciers are in denial............
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