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Letter: Melting glaciers are everyone's problem

Harold Hensel

I was asked by a climate scientist for help monitoring Melville Bay. It is on the northwest side of Greenland. I found nine major glaciers. I recruited volunteers on Facebook to each take a glacier and observe it. We call our group the Melville Bay Watch Group, I was trained for this purpose.

The geography of Greenland is like a football stadium, with mountains on the sides, with one main exit on Melville Bay. The basin is below sea level. Scientists drilling into Greenland are hitting water. The basin is filling up with water and slush. As the water rises, the entire ice sheet may start to float, if it hasn’t already.

We are watching for the ice sheet and glaciers cracking, sliding and calving. We are watching for holes in the ice sheets called moulins and cracks where warm surface water drains to the bottom, We are a watching for muddy water flowing from under the glaciers into the bay. We have seen evidence of this.

This water may be coming from nearby or it could be coming from the basin. If part of the northwest side of Greenland slides into the ocean, a 6-foot rise in sea level is expected. If the whole sheet slides, we can expect a 21-foot rise. This event could happen at any time.

Glaciologists on the northwest side of Greenland say the ice sheet is sliding. What does this have to do with Eastern Iowa? How many migrants from the coasts can we absorb?

Harold Hensel

Cedar Rapids

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