Sermeq Avannarleq retreats

Sermeq Avannarleq, the next glacier north of the enormous Jakobshavn Isbrae lost more than 2 sq. mi of its ice front by the end of summer 2008. This loss is on top of more than 2 sq. mi lost by end of summer 2007. These recent breakups added to smaller losses in earlier years have generated a retreat pattern illustrated in the lower panel of the figure below.

Sermeq Avannarleq had been dubbed “dead glacier” by local dog sledders that take tourists to the bay in front of this glacier. The name is now illogical. Beginning in 2003, Dead Glacier came alive, shedding floating ice into the forebay and continuing its retreat during 2007 and 2008 summers.

Factoid: Greenlandic glacier names describe the relative location of the feature. Sermeq Avannarleq translated literally means “northern glacier”, north, that is, of Sermeq Kujaleq (southern glacier), that is, Jakobshavn Isbrae.

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