The mass of the Greenland ice sheet has rapidly declined in the last several years due to surface melting and iceberg calving. Research based on observations from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites indicates that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland shed approximately 280 gigatons of ice per year, causing global sea level to rise by 0.03 inches (0.8 millimeters) per year. These images, created from GRACE data, show changes in Greenland ice mass since 2002. Orange and red shades indicate areas that lost ice mass, while light blue shades indicate areas that gained ice mass. White indicates areas where there has been very little or no change in ice mass since 2002. In general, higher-elevation areas near the center of Greenland experienced little to no change, while lower-elevation and coastal areas experienced up to 13.1 feet (4 meters) of ice mass loss (expressed in equivalent-water-height; dark red) over a 14-year period. The largest mass decreases of up to 11.8 inches (30 centimeters (equivalent-water-height) per year occurred along the West Greenland coast. The average flow lines (grey; created from satellite radar interferometry) of Greenland’s ice converge into the locations of prominent outlet glaciers, and coincide with areas of high mass loss.
NASA's GRACE-FO team plans to switch to a backup system in the Microwave Instrument on one of the twin spacecraft this month.
The laser ranging interferometer (LRI) instrument has been successfully switched on aboard the recently launched twin U.S./German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites.
Antarctic ice losses have tripled since 2012, raising global sea levels by 0.12 inch (3 millimeters) in that timeframe alone, finds a new NASA/ESA-funded climate assessment.
GRACE-FO has completed its first mission phase and demonstrated the performance of the precise ranging system that enables its measurements of how mass migrates around Earth.
All flight and ground systems have performed well throughout the Launch and Early Operations Period. The accelerometer and microwave science instruments have been powered on successfully and the two satellites are in relative pointing mode.