The Arctic's Most Productive Glacier Has Shed an Area the Size of Manhattan Over Last 12 Years

The Jakobshavn glacier. Image: Fotopedia/CC BY 2.0

Another massive glacier is receding into the proverbial Arctic sunset. Scientists have confirmed that the Iliulissat glacier, also called the Jakobshavn, is now retreating faster than any glacier has any business retreating.

Here's Arctic researcher Jason Box:

One of the most productive outlets from the inland ice sheet, if not the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, the Ilulissat glacier (also known as the Jakobshavn glacier) continues to retreat, losing an estimated 13 sq km in area from August 2011 to August 2012. This years loss is the largest area loss since the 2007-2008 interval. The net area change at this glacier since late summer 2000 is a loss of 122 sq km, equivalent with 1.4 x Manhattan Is., retreating effectively 18 km (11.2 mi) in 12 years.
That's eleven miles of ice that have melted away in just about as many years. That's alarming. Statistically, it looks like this:

Jason Box/NASA/Public Domain

But that's not exciting. More broadly, it looks something like this:

That's better. The point is, human-induced climate change is turning the world's fortresses of solitude into melting popsicles. And even Mitt Romney knows it.

Tags: Arctic | Global Climate Change

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