Fast acceleration of an Arctic glacier has been detected by researchers with the help of data from European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellites.
On the Norway’s Spitsbergen island, Negribreen glacier has seen a surge in speed of ice surface. It has increased from one metre to 13 metres a day in winters, ESA told in a statement on Friday.
In a glacier ‘surge’ a large amount of ice flows to the end in a very short span of time.
Well, the proper causes behind the surge in Negribreen glacier are not known, according to researchers, the causes could be linked to the changes in heat or water in the lowest layers of the glaciers.
In 1930’s Arctic experienced this kind of surge last as documented in aerial photographs. At that time, it advanced almost 12 km into the fjord in one year along a 15 km-wide section of the front.
Since then the front of the glacier had been steadily retreating, with large icebergs breaking off.
This latest jump in speed was first experienced in July 2016 and has been climbing ever since- even in months of winter.
In order to map the glaciers at different times and find out the changes in extent, elevation and speed, A team of scientists working under ESA's Climate Change Initiative in the Glaciers_cci project are making use of satellite radar and optical coverage.
"Sentinel-1 provides us with a near-realtime overview of glacier flow across the Arctic, remarkably augmenting our capacity to capture the evolution of glacier surges," said Tazio Strozzi from Swiss company Gamma Remote Sensing and scientist on Glaciers_cci.
"This new information can be used to refine numerical models of glacier surging to help predict the temporal evolution of the contribution of Arctic glaciers to sea-level rise," Strozzi said.
Sentinel-1 is a two-satellite mission for Europe's environment monitoring programme, Copernicus.