Icelandic Volcano Eruption may Accelerate Glacial Melting: Scientist
    2010-05-05 20:52:37     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhao Lixia
 

The recent eruption of a volcano that sits under a glacier in Iceland may cause the ice field to disappear more quickly due to a warming climate, a glaciologist said Wednesday.

The Eyjafjallajokull glacier will need decades to recover from the eruption that caused it extensive damage and snarled air traffic across Europe, Icelandic glaciologist Helgi Bjornsson told the online Iceland Review.

For example, Bjornsson said, the glacier's tongue has retreated from the lagoon it had extended into.

"It is a so-called melt area," he said. "More ice is melting than what can be accumulated each year. What has saved the tongue until now is the ice that is being transferred from above."

If there was little ice in the collecting area, which took a few decades to accumulate, then the lower part would continue to shrink, he said.

The tail of Gigjokull, a small outlet glacier from Eyjafjallajokull, had been declining by up to eight meters per year before the eruption because relocation of ice from the main glacier wasn't sufficient to make up for the loss.

"Now the outlook is even bleaker. When we take the principle, so to speak, it takes the glacier 10 to 20 years to recover at an unchanged climate," Bjornsson said.

The glaciologist said he thinks that it can take decades to fill the hole created by the crater.

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