Image of Greenlandic glaciers from the 1930's. Photo: Danish Arctic Institute.

Forgotten images shed light on Greenland's glaciers

Monday 18 Jun 12
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Shfaqat Abbas Khan
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DTU Space
+4545 25 97 75
The article “An aerial view of 80 years of climate-related glacier fluctuations in southeast Greenland” is published in the June edition of Nature Geoscience (vol.  5, no. 6).
Satellite images combined with a forgotten photo archive shed light on the melting of Greenland’s glaciers.

A forgotten photo archive from the 1930’s has given researchers from the Technical University of Denmark and University of Copenhagen the opportunity to create a unique overview of the changes in glaciers in southeast Greenland over the last 80 years.

The research has led to an article in the journal Nature Geoscience. Senior scientist Shfaqat Abbas Khan from the National Space Institute (DTU Space) is joint author on the paper.

The researchers have divided the changes in the southeast Greenlandic glaciers into six observation periods from 1933 to 2010. Red circles show retreat and green circles advance.

The researchers have divided the changes in the southeast Greenlandic glaciers into six observation periods from 1933 to 2010. Red circles show retreat and green circles advance.

Through a combination of aerial photos, photos taken from the ground, and satellite imagery, the research team has examined the development in 132 glaciers in southeast Greenland during the last 80 years.

Among other things the results have shown a widespread retreat of glaciers during the last 80 years. However, the research also shows that the glaciers are robust and can advance in a relatively short amount of time if the climate gets colder.

The University of Copenhagen has written a longer story about the research. Read it here (in Danish).