Posted by: Dr Churchill | August 13, 2012

Elephant Foot

The Elephant Foot Glacier in Greenland is a sight to behold. Majestically beautiful, serene and yet moving fast…
It used to be the benchmark for stability and strength amongst all Greenland glaciers…

Elephant Foot or Mittivakkat Glacier, has suffered its most significant ice loss ever recorded. That makes it for a very significant event, because it is the biggest decline since we started observing and measuring glaciers about a century ago.

The observations indicate that the total 2011 mass budget loss was 2.45 metres, 0.29 metres higher than the previous observed record loss in 2010. The 2011 value was also significantly above the 16-year average observed loss of 0.97 metres per year.

The 2011 observations further illustrate, even comparing the mass balance value against simulated glacier mass balance values back to 1898, that 2011 is a record-breaking glacier mass loss year.

The melt season in Greenland now stretches into September, so it will likely be early 2012 before we know if the 2011 Greenland melt season has broken the 2010’s record.



Elephant Foot Glacier appears is representative of a class of the largest glaciers and certainly the king of Greenland.

He is not the canary in the coal mine. He is the coal mine itself…

When he falls all else follows…

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