During a five-month summer expedition to the region, Dr. Alun Hubbard and a team of 1５ researchers from Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities in the United Kingdom used a variety of earthquake-measuring techniques to evaluate the thickness, speed of thinning, atmospheric temperature and other information about the Greenland ice sheet.
Greenland melt is considered the second highest cause of sea level rise after Antarctica, with a combined potential of raising global sea levels by seven meters if all were to melt into the ocean.
Scientists such as oceanographer Dr. Igor Belkin of the University of Rhode Island, USA confirm that this phenomenon is already happening.
Dr. Igor Belkin - Oceanographer, University of Rhode Island, USA (M): As a consequence of Greenland melt, the sea level is rising. So Greenland melt is a major contributor to the sea level rise, which has global consequences especially to those countries that are not very high above sea level.
VOICE: Based on an analysis of their recent five-months of data collection, Dr. Hubbard concluded that the ice sheet's future is grim, with extensive retreating and thinning after a year of extreme temperatures highs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Belkin explained some of the factors involved in the rapid receding of Greenland.
Dr. Igor Belkin (M): Over the last half-a-century or less, the average air temperature around Greenland increased by about two degrees Centigrade, and that's a lot. Now, we also have ocean circulation around Greenland. Such currents are East Greenland current, West Greenland current, etc.
They go around Greenland and they affect glaciers, especially glaciers that come down to the sea. We have warm Irminger Current that carries warm waters to Greenland, and this current it warms these tidal water glaciers, warms from below, increasing basal melt.
VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Belkin, Dr. Hubbard and colleagues, for alerting us to the critical situation of the Greenland ice sheets and their threat to global sea level rise. May research such as yours help speed our efforts to halt these and other adverse effects of climate change.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Germany, Supreme Master Ching Hai urged for the most certain way to stop such alarming conditions as the Greenland ice sheet melt.