Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

PHOTO: Retreat of Greenland’s Helheim Glacier

Despite the highly-charged politicization of the climate change debate, scientists continue to document our warming planet. Pictured here are three photos taken by NASA: the left taken May 12, 2001, the middle taken July 7, 2003, and the right taken June 19, 2005. 

As NASA writes,

Along the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet, outlet glaciers flow as icy rivers through fjords and out to sea. These pictures show a fjord in which Helheim glacier (on the left) is crumbling into large and small icebergs (light blue, on the right). The glacier outlet ("calving front") held steady from the 1970s until about 2001, then began to retreat towards its source about 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) between 2001 and 2005. The glacier’s flow to the sea has also sped up.

Experts believe the Greenland ice sheet, which is the size of Mexico, is losing about 7 billion cubic feet of ice a year. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, that’s “the equivalent of 80,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.” Sea levels are rising as the giant ice enters the Atlantic, displacing water. Or as the CS Monitor ominously points out, much like an ice cube dropped into a drink.

Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.