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NASA Satellites Capture Speed of Ice Melt, Ice Sheets and Glaciers Allowing Scientists to View Data Real-time

Dec 14, 2016 04:02 AM EST
Greenland: A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming
NASA and USGS are using a real-time ice sheet viewing process in order to study the factors that influence the movement of glaciers and ice sheets towards the sea.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The warming of the planet caused by greenhouse gasses due to climate change has been an issue being tackled for years. As the years progressed, there are more and more evidence that show off the effect of climate change on the planet.

Recent NASA satellite images measure the movement of melted ice, ice sheet and glaciers as they made their way to the sea. The Landsat 8 was used to capture the images for NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The agency used the imagery from the satellite to track the speed ice travels. The study was able to recognize a pattern due to the satellite's ability to detect the speed of flowing ice particularly in Greenland in the Antarctica as well as other mountain ranges worldwide. Although ice sheets and glaciers appear to be solid, some of them are slowly moving and melting towards the sea, according to CNN.

This new innovative process allows scientists to view the movement of melted ice, glaciers and ice sheets real time. Thanks to Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction (GoLIVE), a project funded by NASA. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working with experts from the University of Alaska and the University of Colorado for the GoLIVE project.

GoLIVE will study the ice flow and how it will influence sea level on the global scale. "We are now able to map how the skin of ice is moving," Ted Scambos, GoLive lead and senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder said in a press release. "From now on, we're going to be able to track all of the different types of changes in glaciers - there's so much science to extract from the data," Scambos added.

Real-time viewing of the movements of melted ice, ice sheet, and glaciers allows scientists to study the influence of other factors such as atmosphere to the speed of ice sheet and glacier changes and how it affects the flow of melted ice to the ocean.

"We can use the method to identify which areas to keep an eye on, or which events might lead to a rapid change," Scambos said in a statement.

GoLIVE uses a software to map the features while the flowing ice is moving. The satellite is capable of taking photographs of the entire planet every 16 days.

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