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Greenland: At the bottom of a glacier scientists find disturbing signs



NASA oceanographer Josh Willis and his team are studying how the ice is attacked not only by rising air temperatures, but also by the warming ocean that eats away from below.

A converted World War II DC-3 The aircraft, now called the BT-57 Basler, carries a group of OMG researchers to the Greenland coast. From the air, crewmembers fire special probes through the ice floor, which then transmit temperature and salinity data to determine possible sea-level rises and their future relevance to humanity.

"There is enough ice in Greenland to raise the sea level by 7.5 meters, that's about 25 feet, a huge volume of ice, and that would be devastating to coasts all over the planet," said Willis. "We should already withdraw from the coast if we look at many meters in the next one or two centuries [lost]."

NASA took CNN on a dramatic flight over Helheim ̵

1; one of the largest glaciers in Greenland and the US, the fastest-floating on the eastern edge of the island. Helheim, named after the realm of the dead in Norse mythology, is majestic, more than four miles wide and about the same height as the Statue of Liberty.

When our plane approached Helheim, scientists discovered an ice-free "lake" at the very front of the glacier, which they do not supposedly see often. The probes also returned worrying data – Helheim was surrounded by warm water in all its depth, more than 2,000 feet below the surface.

"It's very rare that there are 700 meters in the world without temperature fluctuations, and we normally find colder water in the upper one hundred meters, but right in front of the glacier it's all the way warm," said Ian Fenty, climatologist at NASA. "This warm water can now be in direct contact with the ice over its entire surface and charge the melt."

  Ice Free
Helheim has become as famous in recent years as it is to retreat at an astonishing rate. In 2017, the glacier lost two miles, and a year later New York University scientists conquered a kilometer-long column of ice that broke off the glacier front. The melt does not seem to slow down again this year.

"It pulls back many feet a day, it's ten feet a day, and you can probably put your iPhone in fast motion and see how it passes," Willis says as the data flashes on his phone screen.

Glaciers like Helheim and even the much smaller ones around villages like Kulusuk are strong enough to raise global sea levels by half a millimeter in just one month – something NASA has done, researchers say, can not be ignored.

"Greenland is having an impact around the world, with one billion tonnes of ice lost here raising sea levels in Australia, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe," said Willis. "We're all connected by the same ocean."

Even though most of them think of Rover and other planets as they think of NASA missions in the 50 years since the moon landing, public perception of what the agency is spilling Resources should seem to shift. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans believe that NASA should primarily monitor key parts of the Earth's climate system instead of sending a human to Mars.

And the OMG is just one of the projects looking at our home planet, which NASA has increased in recent decades. As the NASA Geosciences budget increases, the agency plans to launch at least two new natural-hazard satellite tracking and exploration programs.


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