As part of the study, researchers analysed almost 2 million satellite images of the glaciers and found that 94 per cent of the differences in flow rates could be explained by changes in ice thickness. For more than a decade, satellite data have documented that the glaciers continue to become thinner as the melt rates on their top surfaces increases. Observing the glaciers from ground level is difficult because of their huge geographic expanse and inaccessibility, so the researchers turned to satellite images.
In the few locations where glaciers have been stable or thickening rather than thinning, the study found that flow speeds also have been increasing slightly. The reason a glacier flows down a slope at all is that gravity pulls on its mass.
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All About Glaciers
Mauvoisin disaster triggered scientific interest in glaciers. One man's race to capture the Rocky Mountains glaciers before they vanish. Glaciers, which are vast masses of snow and ice, are receding at varying rates around the world due to rising global temperatures. Underwater melting of Antarctic ice far greater than thought, study finds.
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Vanishing Glaciers by Project Pressure - in pictures. This week it brought its touring photographic exhibition to the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, Hong Kong, where visitors can experience the different types of glaciers found on each continent and take a video journey to see how glaciers are retreating.
Underwater sea walls and artificial islands among projects urgently required to avoid devastation of global flooding, say scientists. Melting ice sheets are hastening sea level rise, satellite data confirms.
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Research shows that pace of melting in Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated.
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