Rapid changes in the Arctic resonate across the planet
A gargantuan mass of melting ice and water pulsed through one of Greenland’s glaciers with such force that it warped the Earth’s crust in the process. During the unprecedented warming of 2012, the Rink Glacier pulse traveled approximately 15 miles, actually bending bedrock around it as it pushed its way to the sea.
During the record heat of 2012, most of the surface of Greenland was covered with meltwater, a phenomenon that had not been previously observed. Researchers studying the event believe the unusual amount of surface water drained beneath Greenland’s ice sheet and then thrust its way via gravitational forces until it reached the North Atlantic coast. While a glacier moves very slowly under normal circumstances, this massive pulse moved quickly beneath the ice, ripping up everything in its path.
NASA researchers say this unprecedented event is likely to be a harbinger of the future as the Arctic regions warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
The quantity of melted ice that exploded into the ocean was 6.68 billion tons, or gigatons. If all the ice on Greenland ended up in the ocean, it would raise sea levels by about 20 feet worldwide.