A University of Wyoming professor is part of a research team that has made a significant 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. He says this finding will be helpful in projecting future sea-level rises.

“It’s socially relevant science. It’s directly related to sea-level rise,” says Humphrey, a UW professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. “From a human perspective, 20 percent of the world’s population lives within 50 feet of sea level. If Greenland is to melt, it’s beyond catastrophic.”

Humphrey is co-author of a paper, titled “Basal Drainage System Response to Increasing Surface Melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet,” that will be published in this month’s issue of Science. This marks the fifth time he has contributed a paper that has been published in Science, Humphrey says.

Toby Meierbachtol, a doctoral student at the University of Montana, is the paper’s lead writer. Joel Harper, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Montana, was the other contributing writer. Humphrey and Harper have worked as colleagues in the field for 20 years.

This story is provided by The University of Wyoming, more can be found at their website, by clicking this link.