Minimize Major Greenland glacier is growing

Jakobshavn Glacier has grown for the third year in a row, and scientists attribute the change to cool ocean waters. The image acquired, on 6 June 2019, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, shows a natural-colour view of Jakobshavn Glacier, western Greenland.

Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland is notorious for being the world's fastest-moving glacier. It is also one of the most active, discharging a tremendous amount of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet into Ilulissat Icefjord and adjacent Disko Bay—with implications for sea level rise. The image above, acquired on 6 June 2019, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, shows a natural-colour view of the glacier.

Jakobshavn has spent decades in retreat—that is, until scientists observed an unexpected advance between 2016 and 2017. In addition to growing toward the ocean, the glacier was found to be slowing and thickening. New data collected in March 2019 confirm that the glacier has grown for the third year in a row, and scientists attribute the change to cool ocean waters.

"The third straight year of thickening of Greenland's biggest glacier supports our conclusion that the ocean is the culprit," said Josh Willis, an ocean scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland


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