Going, Going, Gone?

Greenhouse Effect is Melting Greenland

Feature story - July 21, 2005
In a stunning discovery aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, scientists found new evidence that Greenland’s glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate. It's just more evidence that Global warming is no longer on the horizon, it has arrived at our doorstep, and if you live in a coastal city, that's not just a figure of speech.

Scientists aboard Greenpeace ship make startling discovery: Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than anticipated.

That's because Greenland's massive ice sheet locks up more than sixpercent of the world's fresh water supply, and it is melting muchfaster than expected. If Greenland were to melt fully, it would causesea levels around the globe to rise by nearly 20 feet. Evenmeasurements of four to five feet of sea level rise could mean thatplaces like New York, Amsterdam, Venice and Bangladesh will experience floodingin lowlying areas. Morethan 70 percent of the world's population lives on flat coastal plains.

The Arctic Sunrise arrived in Greenland at the end of June, withscientists from around the world onboard. The ship and its crew havebeen documenting and measuring the impacts of global warming. 

The alarming retreat of the Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier suggests that the entireGreenland ice sheet may be melting far more rapidly than previouslybelieved. Allcurrent scientific forecasts for global warming had assumed slowerrates of melting. This new evidence suggests that the threat of globalwarming is much greater and moreurgent than previously believed.

In addition to the increased speed of the glacier, scientists from theUniversity of Maine found that the Kangerdlussuaq glacier has recededmore than three miles since 2001. Measurements from glaciers acrossGreenland are providing startling new evidence of thinning, causing theglaciers to speed up and decrease in overall mass, intensifying theflow of ice into the ocean. 

"The alarm is now deafening. We can't stand back and watch our futurego under, literally," said Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace campaigneronboard the Arctic Sunrise. "We must stop generating global warmingpollution."

Watch the Dramatic Footage