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Greenland’s fastest glacier sets new speed record | UW Today

Greenland s fastest glacier sets new speed record UW Today

Jakobshavn Glacier, which is widely believed to be the glacier that produced the large iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912, drains the Greenland ice sheet into a deep-ocean fjord on the west coast of the island. At its calving front, where the glacier effectively ends as it breaks off into icebergs, some of the ice melts while the rest is pushed out, floating into the ocean. Both of these processes contribute about the same amount to sea-level rise from Greenland.


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This speedup of Jakobshavn means that the glacier is adding more and more ice to the ocean, contributing to sea-level rise.

“We know that from 2000 to 2010 this glacier alone increased sea level by about 4/100 of an inch (1 mm). With the additional speed it likely will contribute a bit more than this over the next decade,” Joughin said.

I'm trying to imagine the size of a glacier that can singlehandedly contribute to a rise in ocean levels.

Right?!  Astonishing.

"The new observations show that in summer of 2012 the glacier reached a record speed of more than 10 miles (17 km) per year, or more than 150 feet (46 m) per day. These appear to be the fastest flow rates recorded for any glacier or ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica, researchers said."

"The researchers believe Jakobshavn is unstable, meaning it will continue to retreat further inland. By the end of this century its calving front could retreat as far back as the head of the fjord through which the glacier flows, about 31 miles (50 km) upstream from where it is today."

So this glacier is at least 31 miles long?!!

Seems that way. At that point isn't it more like an island than a glacier?

I believe it is still called a glacier.  Here are the different parts of a Glacier.


Here is a picture showing the receding of the Jakobshavn glacier


A picture of the town of Ilulissat with the Jakobshavn glacier in the background.  It is massive!


Wow!  Thanks so much for posting these pics/diagrams!

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