Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Glacial Meltdown!

Glaciers are melting 100 times faster than the long-term average, according to scientists. A team from Aberystwyth University, the University of Exeter and Stockholm University studied 270 of the largest ‘outlet glaciers’ - the kind that form slow moving 'rivers' of ice that flow into the sea - in Patagonia, at the southern tip of South America.

What they found was that over the past 30 years the rate of melting has been much higher than previously suspected, up to 100 times faster than the long-term average rate. Past studies have used satellite imaging which the scientists have said limited previous studies to the past few decades and that only when they looked back over the past 350 years did they note the rapid increase compared to earlier decades.

However, their report has been criticised by some as being misleading, with claims that there is no evidence of rising sea levels and that many glaciers are actually growing, including some in Patagonia.

Whatever the implications are of this report, it certainly raises as many questions as it provides answers and highlights the need for further research.

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