OMG - it's a NASA mission to measure sea level rise

OMG - it's a NASA mission to measure sea level rise

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - OMG in this case stands for Oceans Melting Greenland. The ice sheet currently covering Greenland could become a major player in sea level rise if it melts. For that reason, NASA scientist are trying to determine not only how much melting is occurring on the surface from increased air temperatures, but also from underneath as warm ocean waters eat away at coastal glaciers.

The initial goal of the mission is to create detailed elevations map of the current Greenland ice shelf, along with a high resolution map of the ocean floor. Scientists will study how ocean currents funnel seawater into the island's fjords. This sea water can eat away at coastal glaciers, reducing their elevation from below.

The mission will continue each year with scientists monitoring the ocean currents and updating the elevation data of the ice sheet and glaciers. According to NASA this will "provide a revolutionary data set for modeling ocean/ice interactions and lead to improved estimates of global sea level rise."

The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says ocean levels could increase 20 feet if the Greenland ice sheet melts away completely. In the recent years, the melting at the outer edges of the Greenland ice sheet outpaces accumulation of new snow.

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