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Home / Science / Scientists investigate "sunburn" in rocks to discover 45,000-year-old changes in Greenland's ice stream

Scientists investigate "sunburn" in rocks to discover 45,000-year-old changes in Greenland's ice stream



Researchers found that environmental events over the past 45,000 years have resulted in the Northeast Greenland ice stream being smaller than it is today. Climate change is taking its toll now. Mario Tama | Getty Images )

Although it has been documented that the ice stream in Greenland has been melting for some time, scientists now believe it has been happening for many years.

What did explorers discover about Greenland

The Northeast Greenland Ice Flow (NEGIS) is over 300 miles long and it deprives nearly 1

2 percent of Greenland's inland ice. It is the second largest ice mass in the world. A new study showed that NEGIS is smaller than it is today, and has been for 45,000 years.

The study was published on May 14 in the journal Nature Communications

. "There are some parts of the ice sheet that are relatively stable and others that show signs of a very rapid retreat – a pattern that we see today as it did thousands of years ago," said geologist Anders Carlson, a co-author of the study , "Some of it relates to the topography of the bed – when the bed is below sea level, it stabilizes that part of the ice sheet, and it is unstable at low altitudes."

The researchers found that the NEGIS system has been very sensitive to environmental changes over the past 45,000 years. In recent years, climate change has been a major challenge for the ice stream.

About 41,000 to 26,000 years ago, NEGIS also had ice loss. Scientists believe that this is probably due to warmer temperatures during the summer months and low snowfall during the winter months. They also said that Earth's orbit 9,000 years ago was closer to the Sun, which also affected the ice flow. How did you discover this ice loss?

To determine these changes, researchers reconstructed the periods of changing air temperatures. They also explored the rocks in the NEGIS to explore the influence of the sun.

While studying the rocks, scientists were able to decide where the edges of the ice sheets lay by searching for "sunburn" in the rocks. They found that the rocks were exposed to cosmic rays. This split the elements and created Beryllium-10 in the rocks. This exposure caused NEGIS to shrink over time.

What does the future hold for NEGIS?

The researchers said that the ice sheet would not retire until the end of the century. The vanishing ice in Greenland, however, could have a lasting impact on the rest of the world. With less ice, the country will absorb most of the heat, which will improve climate change. In addition, melting ice could raise sea levels and there could be more extreme weather conditions worldwide.

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