Friday, February 03, 2006 - Global warming boosting Greenland glacier flow - Feb 3, 2006

Friday, February 3, 2006 Posted: 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
(Reuters) -- Two major glaciers in Greenland have recently begun to flow and break up more quickly under the onslaught of global warming, a new study said on Friday, raising the specter of millions drowning from rising sea levels.

The report from the University of Swansea's School of the Environment and Society said the Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim glaciers had doubled their rate of flow to the ocean over the past two years after steady movement during the 1990s.

This spurt meant that current environmental models of the rate of retreat of Greenland's giant ice sheet -- which could add seven meters to the height of the world's oceans if it disappears -- had underestimated the problem.

"It seems likely that other Greenland outlets will undergo similar changes, which would impact the mass balance of the ice sheet more rapidly than predicted," the study said.

It said the fact that the two major outflow glaciers had shown the same sudden acceleration despite being more than 300 km apart suggested the cause was not local but more likely climatic or oceanic in origin.

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