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Posted Sun Mar 22 2009: from Palm Beach Daily News:
Rubber ducks dropped into Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier to track ice flow
To keep track of climate change, scientists around the world employ some of the most sophisticated devices and machines found in the 21st century. Advanced theoretical models run on huge number-crunching computers, while thousands of miles up in space complex satellites examine every nook and cranny of our atmosphere. Still, sometimes scientists just need a rubber ducky. At least, that's what Alberto Behar, a researcher from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, used recently to try to figure out what's going on inside the world's fastest-moving glacier. Behar dropped 90 rubber ducks inside the Jakobshavn Glacier, not far from Greenland, last September to try to determine why glaciers speed up in the summer months during their annual march to the sea. Behar says the Jakobshavn Glacier discharges around 7 percent of all the ice that comes off of Greenland each year. Thanks to global warming, scientists believe its melting ice sheet could help raise ocean levels in the coming years.
[Read more stories about: water issues, technical cleverness, rising sea level, arctic meltdown]
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