Global warming is responsible for melting more than 50 billion tonnes of water per year from the Greenland ice sheet, leading to a 59 centimetres rise in global sea level over the last century. This was stated in a National Aeronautical and Space Administration ( nasa ) study, which is the first to give a detailed measurement of recent changes in the Greenland ice sheet.
William B Krabill, a nasa scientist and head of the ice sheet measurement study, said that the rapid melting of Greenland ice has increased the risk of coastal flooding around the world.
"What we see happening in Greenland may be an indication of the bigger picture," says Waleed Abdalati, another nasa scientist and co-author of the study.
nasa is planning to launch a satellite, called IceSat , in 2001, to survey the major ice sheets in the world. It will orbit directly over the poles, taking constant measurements of the ice to determine how it is changing with time.
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