Bering glacier melting at a faster rate

HOUGHTON, Mich. (UPI) — New measurements show the Bering Glacier in Alaska is melting at double the rate that scientists had thought, researchers said Friday.

Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute, said the glacier, the largest in North America, is releasing about 30 cubic kilometers of water a year — more than twice the amount of water in the entire Colorado River.

“This could potentially change the circulation of coastal currents in the Gulf of Alaska,” Shuchman said.

The measurements were made with a new sensor — designed by Michigan Tech, the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Bureau of Land Management — that provides a more accurate measurement of glacial ice melt, the university said Friday in a release.

“Our glacier observations are 10 times better and 10 times less costly than data collected the old way,” Shuchman said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

from Arcamax Science and Technology e-zine, 08-19-2008

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