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Study: Greenland Melting Is More Pervasive, Adding to Sea Level Fears

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Three glaciers holding back a vast ice stream in northeast Greenland, a region thought to be the last bastion of stability in that rapidly warming region, are now thinning and moving more rapidly into the sea, a new study found.

The study overturns longstanding assumptions that the northeastern corner of Greenland, which is one of the coldest and driest parts of the world's largest island, is stable, and instead suggests that sea level rise projections based on this assumption will need to be reevaluated.

The study, by an international group of researchers from Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.S. and China, found that regional warming has likely caused three outlet glaciers bordering Fram Strait and the Nordic Sea in far northeast Greenland, to lose mass in recent years, matching similar observed trends in the southwest, west and northwest of Greenland. One of the outlet glaciers, in fact, has receded 12.4 miles in just the past 10 years.

Study coauthor Shfaqat A. Khan of the Technical University of Denmark told Mashable he was surprised to find such significant ice loss in northeast Greenland, considering how cold and dry that region is. Previous studies of sea level rise had not included the prospect of melting there, he said.     

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