Fate Of Greenland Meltwater Affected By Winds, Currents

By on June 13, 2016

Labrador Sea. (Credit: Filippos Tagklis / University of Georgia)

In recent decades, researchers have watched as land ice on the island of Greenland has melted, spurring questions about the impacts to sea levels. But what has not been questioned as much is the fate of all that meltwater — what happens to it once it enters the ocean?

Fortunately, a group of scientists from the University of Georgia has led a project to find an answer. And they have uncovered the fate of much of the water that pours into the oceans surrounding Greenland.

The researchers created a simulation based on existing data to track meltwater runoff under a variety of atmospheric conditions. This revealed that most of the meltwater found off the west coast of Greenland actually originates from ice on the east coast.

Wind and ocean currents, scientists say, tend to transport meltwater around the southern tip of Greenland on a westward journey that can take around 60 days. After rounding the tip, the meltwater is largely deposited into the Labrador Sea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.

Top image: Labrador Sea. (Credit: Filippos Tagklis / University of Georgia)

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