Greenland ice melting ‘occurs in bursts’

Researchers have suggested that the depletion of the massive ice sheet in Greenland may be occurring in short spurts.

The news comes via a report, published in the Science journal, which said that figures have shown that the majority of recent ice loss in the North Atlantic landmass happened in two distinct periods between 1985 and1993 and again between 2005 and 2010. According to the Denmark-based researchers behind the report, there was a very stable period between the two melting bursts.

Prof Kurt Kjaer, of the University of Copenhagen and head of the study, said, “These variations in the amount of thinning that we are able to document since the 1980s make it difficult to predict how much the world’s oceans will rise over a longer period of time – a century for instance – as a result of Greenland’s glacial melt-water runoff. However, it is certain that many of the present calculations and computer models of ice sheet conditions that built upon a short range of years since 2000 must be reassessed,” the BBC reports.

Kjaerh went on to say that, “It is too early to proclaim the ‘ice sheet’s future doom’ and subsequent contribution to serious water problems for the world.”

The news follows the release of recent photographs from US space agency Nasa that revealed massive ice loss across the whole of Greenland, including the breakoff of a Manhattan-sized chunk from an ice shelf in the northern portion of the landmass.