UW Researcher Makes Breakthrough in Understanding Greenland Ice Melt

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Neil Humphrey (right), a UW professor of geology and geophysics, and Joel Harper, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Montana, monitor drilling progress into the Greenland ice sheet.  The two contributed to a research paper that is published in the journal Science this month.  (Photo courtesy of UW/Toby Meierbachtol Photo)
Neil Humphrey (right), a UW professor of geology and geophysics, and Joel Harper, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Montana, monitor drilling progress into the Greenland ice sheet. The two contributed to a research paper that is published in the journal Science this month. (Photo courtesy of UW/Toby Meierbachtol Photo)

A University of Wyoming professor is part of a research team that has made a breakthrough in understanding the movement of glaciers in Greenland. Geologist Neil Humphrey says the melting ice under the ice sheet moves much more slowly than previously thought.

Humphrey says this finding will be helpful in projecting and understanding future sea-level rises.

Humphrey says 20 percent of the world’s population lives within 50 feet of sea level and if Greenland is to melt, it’s beyond catastrophic. His findings are published in the current issue of the international journal Science.

The National Science Foundation and the Greenland Analogue Project, comprised of Canadian, Finnish and Swedish companies with contributions from Britain and Denmark, provided more than $2.9 million to fund the research. Humphrey says the NSF is contributing another $1.2 million to continue the research.

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