Ecology And Environment

The Jacobshann Glacier described

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The Jacobshann glacier, also called the Jacobshann Isbrae or Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the largest glaciers in Greenland and in addition to its great beauty this glacier has been one of the most studied of all glaciers in the world and has helped scientists in their understanding of climate change and icecap glaciology.

The largest of Greenland's glaciers the Jacobshann is more than four miles wide and over 1000 feet thick, but more impressively it is the fastest moving glacier in the world. instead of moving about a foot a day this glacier has sped up to 113 feet a day. The problem is that no on knows why it is speeding up and that speed means that it is breaking off larger icebergs and more of them. The result of this is that the Jacobshann glacier is responsible for four percent of the rise in sea levels.

The best theory of what happens is that increased melt water has allowed for the pressure from the water to be forced through the thousand feet of ice to the ground where they partially lift the iceberg allowing it to nearly float and making it move much faster. Even more disturbing is the evidence that the speed of this glacier is increasing. Going up from 4.16 miles per year on average in the years between 1985 and 2003, but by 2000 that number was 5.84 miles and topped out at 7.83 miles per year on its last measurement.

This glacier is also retreating from the sea and has now retreated farther inland than it has at any time during the 150 years that it has been observed. it is these signs of climate change which above all makes the Jacobshann glacier important and though it is completely natural that icebergs would beak off this glacier every year the speed at which it is happening is one of the most visual pieces of evidence that those who believe in climate change can point to.

No matter the cause of the retreating and speed of this massive glacier it is breaking apart and it is only one of many. Other places where ice is melting at an alarming rate is the Marr Ice Piedmont on Anvers Island, Mller Ice Shelf, Lallemand Fjord on the Antarctic Peninsula, and even the giant Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica could be in trouble.

All these signs combined are what leads many scientists to believe that the sea level of the earth could rise 1.3 meters in the next century and while this may not seem like a lot it is enough to flood many of the largest cities in the world as well as causing a great deal of land loss, often in those parts of the world which are already overcrowded causing more social instability.

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