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Greenland Icemelt

Greenland is a big island -- about the size of Saudi Arabia -- covered by ice and snow. But climate experts agree that frozen ground cover is melting at an accelerating pace, raising the sea level.
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The rivers and streams that carry glacial meltwater across Greenland’s ice sheet are a beautiful shade of blue, but the water moves so fast and drains so unpredictably into moulins or sinkholes that researchers needed to use a range of high-tech instruments to get their measurements. (UCLA/Laurence C. Smith)
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The rivers and streams that carry glacial meltwater across Greenland’s ice sheet are a beautiful shade of blue, but the water moves so fast and drains so unpredictably into moulins or sinkholes that researchers needed to use a range of high-tech instruments to get their measurements. (UCLA/Laurence C. Smith)

Meltwater drains from Greenland’s ice sheet at such a fast rate that researchers couldn’t risk entering the water to get readings so they used a remote-controlled drone boat. (UCLA/ Laurence C. Smith)
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Meltwater drains from Greenland’s ice sheet at such a fast rate that researchers couldn’t risk entering the water to get readings so they used a remote-controlled drone boat. (UCLA/ Laurence C. Smith)

Researchers measured how fast water was flowing through rivers using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. (UCLA/Laurence C. Smith)
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Researchers measured how fast water was flowing through rivers using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. (UCLA/Laurence C. Smith)

To calculate river flow, researchers used autonomous GPS beacons, which drift down the river broadcasting its location and velocity to communications satellites. (UCLA/ Laurence C. Smith)
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To calculate river flow, researchers used autonomous GPS beacons, which drift down the river broadcasting its location and velocity to communications satellites. (UCLA/ Laurence C. Smith)

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