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The island of Greenland is almost completely covered in ice. But since the 1990s, the sheet of ice has been melting. This makes the sea level rise, causing problems for people and animals around the world who live on the coast. 

We wanted to find out exactly how the Greenland ice sheet is melting. Does the ocean affect how quickly it melts? Could it be melting Greenland’s ice from below?

We needed lots of data (information) to be able to answer these questions. So we collected data to help us model the ice sheet melt. We looked at 226 glaciers all around the coast of Greenland. We found out most of the melt was happening with 74 glaciers in deep, underwater valleys. Here, the warm ocean melted the glaciers from below. Our findings are important for predicting the future of Greenland’s ice. 

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About this article

Reading level
Scientific topic
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
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Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
May 2021

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